Dozens of ships transporting everything from oil to consumer goods have been held by a vessel’s grounding in the Suez Canal. Companies may have to re-route cargoes around Africa if the blockage continues exceeding 24 hours, shipping sources told.
On Wednesday, attempts were undertaken to refloat the 400-meter, 224,000-tonne Ever Given, which got stranded on Tuesday morning after failing the ability to steer among high winds and a dust storm.
Shipping sources tell the grounding has interrupted regular trips through the Canal, one of the world’s severe chokepoints and the fastest sea route connecting Asia and Europe.
Kpler spoke more than 20 oil tankers transporting crude and refined products were hit by the disturbances.
The Suez Canal is also a significant route for LNG tankers carrying supplies, and seven LNG vessels were held on Wednesday. Refinitiv ship tracking data recorded.
Any obstacles can have a knock-on effect on both LNG and European gas prices.
More than 13 container ships were tied around Suez, with at most limited two others expecting in the Mediterranean, and Refinitiv ship tracking data recorded.
The world’s most significant container line A.P. Moller Maersk announced seven of its vessels had been hit so far, adding that four of them are cemented in the canal system while the rest are expecting to enter the passage.
Shipping sources told if the delays continue, ships could start re-routing around Africa, which uses a week longer to navigate if they cannot sail within the Canal.
Chris Evans, international supply chain specialist with professional services company Colliers stated that the following 24 hours would be crucial in deciding the longer-term impact.
If there is a significant obstacle, then the Cape of Good Hope may serve as an alternative route to keep things going.
Disorders caused by the COVID-19 and a rush in demand for retail goods by consumers have pointed to more comprehensive logistical bottlenecks around the globe for container lines and supplies in recent months.
Greg Knowler with IHS Markit’s Journal of Commerce stated that with the Asia-Europe supply chain already extended to the limit, the Suez Canal blockage comes at an incredibly unhelpful time.
Container shipping lines have used every available vessel to serve heavy demand from European and UK importers, with congestion delaying inbound cargo handling.