Global Trade: Suez Canal Compromised; Blockade costs $400 Million An Hour

Story Highlights
  • Global trade jeopardized
  • World's most important waterways impeded
  • Will have to wait till Sunday or Monday, says Senior Salvage master for Fort Lauderdale

World: A massive container called Evergreen marooned the Suez Canal on Wednesday, increasing the chances of prolonged delay in the world’s paramount waterway. Tug and diggers failed to dislodge the container. Apparently, the work to refloat the ship was suspended until Thursday morning in Egypt. However, tugs and diggers failed to loosen the vessel before any attempt to pull it out. 

The ship’s manager said,” It’s taxing to even grasp how big this ship is. About a quarter-mile long (400 meters) and weighing in at 200,000 metric tons, its sheer size is overwhelming the efforts to dig it out. A huge yellow excavator, itself about twice as tall as its driver, looked like a child’s toy parked next to the ship’s bulking bow. “

Sloan, Senior Salvage master for Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Resolve Marine Group, described the endurance to last till Sunday or Monday until the tide reached a peak and would probably loosen the capsized container. Nick Sloan holds experience in refloating the Costa Concordia, that beached on the coast of Italy in 2012.

The canal is among the most trafficked waterways in the world, used by tankers shipping crude from the Middle East to Europe and North America, as well as in the opposite direction. It accounts for about 12 % of global trade since 1869. On Wednesday 185 vessels, mostly bulk carriers, container ships, and oil or chemical tankers were waiting to cross the canal.  

The blockade highlights a major risk faced by the shipping industry as more and more ships transit maritime chokepoints including the Suez, Panama Canal, the Strait of Hormuz, and Southeast Asia’s Malacca Strait.

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