On Tues 23rd March 2021 one of the world’s largest shipping vessels ‘Ever Given’, run aground causing Egypt’s Suez Canal to be blocked. With authorities currently scrambling to refloat the cargo ship, traffic remains halted in both directions.
Officials have blamed strong winds for pushing the Ever Given sideways, causing an immediate queue of at least 100 vessels seeking to transit between the Red Sea and Mediterranean.
The Suez Canal blockage will have a considerable impact on international trade for months to come. With supply chains already strained with the challenges faced by the pandemic, the disruption caused by further delays, schedule changes and blank sailings is expected to have a ripple effect until the end of June.
Bloomberg has today reported that Egyptian authorities appear to want to wait until Monday for a higher tide to try and tow the vessel away, indicating that the most realistic return to normal for vessel traffic will only happening in a minimum of 10 days.
Is rerouting an immediate option?
According to current data there are almost 240 vessels now queued. Fears that this will take days to resolve has led to many carriers considering rerouting vessels around Africa. Yesterday (25th March) saw Ever Greet, a sistership to the vessel blocking the canal, as the first to head south for the Cape of Good Hope. However, experts currently state that detouring ships doesn’t seem like a viable option at the moment, due to risks of taking unfamiliar routes, limited supply to the crew and an extended shipment time.
Ligentia’s Customer teams are in contact with carriers regularly regarding possible diversion of cargo vessels in transit and will update all customers impacted by this as soon as possible.
Click here to view live images of the vessels delayed due to the blockage.