The operation to move the Japanese-owned container ship currently wedged in Egypt’s Suez Canal could take weeks and significantly impact world trade and UK-bound deliveries.
While efforts continue to free the giant vessel, a reported $29 billion worth of goods is already stuck with estimates of $6.5 up to $9.5 billion being added daily. At least 150 vessels are already backed up either side of the blockage in Egypt, and more than 300 ships are still en-route making it one of the worst marine blockages in decades.
Some vessels have started to divert to go around the southern tip of South Africa; however, this will cause a delay due to increased transit times coupled with added risk due to piracy, not to mention the added fuel costs. Other vessels do not have enough fuel to make the diversion, so they have to sit and play the waiting game. As well as goods, there are tankers carrying oil, and these delays here have already seen fuel prices rise. For the container industry, already experiencing its lowest ebb in terms of vessel reliability and equipment availability, this will have a significant knock-on effect.
At 120 miles long, the Suez Canal is the quickest maritime link between Asia and Europe, linking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, with 10% of world trade flowing through the canal every year.
Our teams are working in the background to track any shipments on other vessels affected by the backlog, and we’ll keep you updated as the situation changes. If customers have concerns over specific urgent shipments, please contact your local Account Manager and Operational Teams for updates.