The stranded Ever Given mega-container ship in the Suez Canal is reportedly holding up an estimated £7 billion, or $9.6 billion of goods each day, according to shipping data, which works out at $400 million an hour in trade along the vital passageway between east and west.
BBC News reports that Shoei Kisen Kaisha, the Japanese owner of the Ever Given, has apologised for the disruption to shipping along the canal since the container ship became stuck on Tuesday 23 March amid high winds and a dust storm. Experts are [redicting that it could take weeks to free the stricken vessel.
Operated by Taiwanese company Evergreen Marine, the 200,000-tonne Ever Given is the length of four football pitches and once of the world’s largest mega-container vessels, capable of carrying 20,000 shipping containers.
Its blockage is causing huge tailbacks of other ships trying to pass through the Suez Canal. The canal, which separates Africa from the Middle East and Asia, is one of the busiest trade routes in the world, with about 12 per cent of total global trade moving through it.
According to Lloyd’s List tracking data, more than 160 vessels are waiting at either end of the canal, including 41 bulk carriers and 24 crude tankers. As well as oil, sea traffic is typically made up of consumer goods and products, such as furniture, clothing, manufacturing components, and car parts.
Guy Platten, the secretary-general of the International Chamber of Shipping, said that there are now reports of shipping companies diverting ships around the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa, which adds 3,500 miles and almost two weeks to the journey.
Two major shipping companies, Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd, said they are looking into options to avoid the Suez Canal.
Platten added there would be ‘some major real-world effects on the supply chain’, explaining that consumers would ultimately bear the cost. The Ever Given had been scheduled to arrive in the port of Felixstowe in early April.
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