On Tuesday morning, the Ever Given – one of the largest cargo ships in the world – ran aground en-route from China to Rotterdam as it headed northbound through the canal, suffering a power failure. The 400 metre long vessel is now blocking the Suez Canal, a passage of water which, at its narrowest, is just 205 metres wide.
See below news report highlighting the issue:
Salvage efforts are on-going, as the below picture attests to, however the knock on effects are already being felt in the industry. There are huge backlogs of vessels awaiting passage through the canal itself, and talk of vessels diverting round the Cape of Good Hope, to the south of Cape Town, South Africa, which will significantly impact transit times and increase voyage distances by approximately 3000 nautical miles.
Any diversion around the Cape of Good Hope is also likely to be costly, and the shipping lines may opt to delay sailings both Eastbound and Westbound until the vessel is recovered.
Currently, the vessels in the vicinity of the Suez Canal that were due to transit it imminently have opted to anchor up and decisions on whether to move them via the alternative route have been deferred until it is clear how long it will take to salvage the stricken vessel.
As a result it is predicted in the industry that schedule reliabilty, equipment/container shortages, port congestion, and haulage will all be impacted adding to the issues that have impacted ocean freight services in the past 6 months.
If you have freight on the Ever Given, you will have been notifed by your account manager by now. However, it is worth noting that all vessels that would normally transit the Suez will have been impacted by the blockage, and you will be notified of all delays as they are communicated to us by the relevant shipping lines/carriers.