Saturday , April 17 2021

Suez Canal blockage: Global shipping disruption could take months to resolve, warn experts

New Delhi: Even though the giant cargo ship Ever Given was freed, clearing the blockage at the Suez canal, experts have warned that the disruptions caused to global shipping could take months to resolve.

About 140 ships were in line to pass through the canal and the authorities are trying to make it as quickly as possible. Shipping convoys through the canal resumed on Monday evening.

The blockage threw global supply chains into disarray, threatening costly delays for firms already wrestling with COVID-19 restrictions. The delay nearly doubled rates for oil product tankers.

Suez Canal Authority chairman Osama Rabie said 95 ships would pass by 7 pm local time on Tuesday and a further 45 by midnight.

He said he hoped the backlog caused by the blockage would be cleared in three to four days.

“We need to study it in the right way because the number of ships is large, including ships that waited for one day, ships that waited for two days, and ships that waited for three days or four days – not all of them will take the same percentages,” Rabie was quoted as saying y Reuters.

However, effects to global shipping and at ports could take much longer to resolve.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the Ever Given’s grounding had drawn attention to the importance of the waterway for global trade.

“We didn’t hope for something like this, but fate was doing its work. It showed and reaffirmed the reality and importance (of the canal),” Sisi said.

Shipping group Maersk has said the knock-on disruptions to international shipping could take weeks or months to unravel.

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