Suez blockage adds to global shipping woes

Mega container vessel causing delays to worldwide movements

Current difficulties in shipping goods around the world have been intensified by a mega-container vessel preventing all shipping movements passing through the Suez Canal.

The Ever Given, which carries more than 20,000 containers, became stuck across the major trade route on Tuesday, March 23rd. Despite efforts to move the ship, it remained stuck on Friday 26th, with some reports saying it could take as long as several weeks to dislodge.

According to a BBC report, the blockage is causing delays to an estimated US9.6bn of goods every day, as it is preventing other ships from moving through the canal. The passage connects Africa to the Middle East and Asia, and is a conduit for approximately 12% of global trade.

As the situation continues, shipping companies including Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd were reportedly diverting their vessels around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, adding time and cost to their journeys.

This is a further obstacle to the international shipping industry, which has already been struggling with a global imbalance in trade caused by the pandemic, which includes severe shortages of shipping containers in many ports around the world and extreme upwards pressure on price.