Ever Given saga highlights supply chain importance

Businesses that rely on international transport networks have brought attention to supply chain issues in the wake of the container ship Ever Given becoming stuck in Egypt’s Suez Canal for six days.

The Taiwanese vessel, which can carry more than 20,000 containers, became lodged across the major shipping trade route in March, causing delays to its own cargo and more than 400 other ships with an estimated value of almost US$10 billion each day.

Alastair Clifton, Director of Communications at the London-based Chamber of Shipping, told FIDI Focus: ‘The incident highlighted the vital importance of shipping to global trade. It helped raise awareness of the shipping sector and the fact that 90 per cent of world trade is moved by sea. It also demonstrated the critical importance of the global supply chain and the fragility of it.’

He added that while the event was unlikely to cause radical change in the shipping industry, ‘companies will likely look at their supply chain and ensure there is some in-built resilience.’

International business including IKEA, Aldi and Dixons Carphone have been named as among those to have been affected by the incident. Furniture, oil, grain, cars, electricals, livestock and food are believed to be among the products delayed by the incident.

After being dislodged, the Ever Given, owned by shipping company Evergreen Marine Corp, was immediately impounded on the Bitter Lake area of the canal by the Suez Canal Authority in Egypt, where, as FIDI Focus went to press, it remains the subject of a compensation claim of US$916 million for salvage costs and damages. The authority has refused to release the vessel until the claim has been settled.

The incident is expected to cause ongoing disruption to many businesses, including legal claims from customers of some of the affected companies.

Have any of your shipments been affected by the Ever Given incident? Please contact Magali Horbert   

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