While the 399-metre-long container ship Ever Given, which has been blocking the Suez Canal north of Port Tawfiq since last Tuesday (see story published today), has finally been dislodged, shipping lines are in damage control mode.
Maersk and partners have three vessels stuck in the canal and 30 waiting to enter, with more expected to reach the blockage today. “We have until now redirected 15 vessels around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa,”according to an advisory from the line. “These decisions were made close to the point of no return and it is expected that they will continue via the south of Africa -also to reduce the number of vessels in the queue. Assessing the current backlog of vessels, it could take six days or more for the complete queue to pass, conditional on safety and other operational circumstances. As more vessels either reach the blockage or are redirected, this is an estimate.”
The line says the ripple effects on global capacity and equipment – even now that the ship has been dislodged - are significant and the blockage has already triggered a series of further disruptions and backlogs in global shipping that could take weeks, possibly months, to unravel.