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Ship Blockage in Egypt’s Suez Canal Causes Trade to Halt

As many as 200 ships may now be waiting to enter the Suez as the canal has suspended traffic both ways. The massive cargo ship stuck in Egypt’s Suez Canal could take days or even weeks to clear. As vessels build up in the waterway, the economy is left suffering.

The ship, called the EverGreen that runs through the Egyptian waters, has been halted for 3 days now. Heavy winds cause the cargo carrier to become horizontally jammed in the waterways of the Suez Canal. This has caused traffic jams in one of the world’s busiest waterways, which means trading goods are stuck.

Up to 150 ships and more have been halted, delaying the cargo they are carrying. Tugboats are on the scene, trying to refloat the ship which is expected to take days or even longer.

The chief executive officer of Dutch company Boskalis pointed out that depending on the scenario it could even take weeks.

While Tugboats and bulldozers are working hard to lodge the ship, the ongoing shutdown could lead to supply chain disruptions around the globe.

The cargo carrier is measured to be 1,300 feet long with a width of 193 feet wide, weighing more than 200,000 tons. The ship is titled with one of its sides stuck into one end of the canal while the other extends to the other bank.

There are currently 25 crew members on the vessel and fortunately, no injuries have been reported. Additionally, no damage to the cargo has been reported either.

With the build-up of ships that use the same route, alternate choices are minimal. The shippers have important decisions to make, whether to keep waiting in the Red Sea and Mediterranean or to use the alternate route.

According to Peter Sand, who is the Chief Shipping expert at BIMCO, as the uncertainty keeps getting deeper lines of vessels keep increasing. People are expecting the blockage to be cleared soon. As per Peter they are looking into rerouting the traffic around Cape of Good Hope, specifically for key cargos.

These cargos might also carry perishables that may not sustain if the delay is prolonged.

However, analysts and shippers are aware of the fact that alternate routes could mean longer distances, which would translate into higher costs.

The strategic canal was under British control from 1875 until it was nationalized in 1956 by the Arab nationalist Gamal Abdel Nasser. It is an important junction of passage as it accounts for approximately 12% of seaborne trade. Goods worth $9 billion and more are disrupted with each day of blockage.

This blockage has caused the economies that are already troubled by the impact of Covid-19, to suffer more. The blockage is affecting countries around the world since the Suez Canal is the world-famous trade route.

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