An ultra large container ship operated by Evergreen ran aground on the Suez Canal on Tuesday, blocking traffic in both directions.
The Suez Canal Authority said in a statement Thursday that it had officially suspended traffic while efforts to dislodge the 1,300-foot Ever Given, stuck crossways in the canal, continued, raising the possibility of major new disruptions to global commerce just as supply chains have begun to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Peter Berdowski, CEO of Dutch company Boskalis, which is trying to free the ship, said “it might take weeks” to get the vessel off, possibly necessitating “a combination of reducing the weight by removing containers, oil and water from the ship, tugboats and dredging of sand.”
Meanwhile, shipping traffic is quickly backing up at both ends of the canal, which normally sees about 50 ships transit each day.
Shipping experts said that, if the canal can’t be cleared in the next 24 hours, vessels plying routes between Europe and Asia may be forced to divert around Africa, adding up to 19 days to the journey. It has been reported that multiple container ships are already rerouting to the Cape of Good Hope to avoid the logjam according to carriers and the ship tracking service Marine Traffic.
While targeted ETAs are jeopardized as salvage efforts continue, carriers are saying it is too early to indicate what the accumulated delays may be.
In the meantime, Delmar will continue to monitor the situation and work with carrier partners on alternative routings via Canadian Westcoast Ports of entry. We would urge all of our clients to expect delays and plan for capacity and equipment shortages that may deteriorate, particularly in South East Asia, India and Bangladesh.
For additional information, please contact your local Delmar Representative.
Source: CIFFA; Supply Chain Dive