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The blocked Suez Canal will trigger more than delays

In addition to triggering renewed port congestion, the grounding of Evergreen’s Ever Given, may indirectly lead to surcharges, price pressures and blanked sailings.

The 20K TEU Ever Given ran aground in the Suez Canal on Tuesday morning and efforts have failed to dislodge the 400 metre long container ship, with suggestions she may be stuck longer, threatening port disruption, surcharges and rate rises, together with the potential of future blanked sailings, as the lines try to recover their schedules.

29th March UPDATE @1500; The Ever Given has been refloated and is currently being escorted away from the grounding site by tug boats. As soon the vessel is cleared from the channel, the Canal will reopen, but the backlog will take a week to 12 days to clear.

With over 300 ships already waiting for the Suez Canal to be cleared, arrival ports are bracing themselves for the arrival of thousands of containers simultaneously, putting even more strain on already over-stretched infrastructure and haulage resource.

Julianne Cona, an assistant engineer on the Maersk Denver, posted the picture above on Instagram showing the vessel blocking the entire canal, with a digger on the eastern bank attempting to dig the ship free. 

Julianne said in her post. “Ship in front of us ran aground while going through the canal and is now stuck sideways. Looks like we might be here for a little bit . . . ”

The three vessels immediately behind the Ever Given when the grounding occurred, including Julianne’s 6,200TEU Maersk Denver, have been taken out of the canal so that the Ever Given can be towed out, once re-floated.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said Thursday that navigation will remain suspended until it can fully refloat the Ever Given and that the eight large tugboats it had deployed were only able to partially refloat the ship.

A salvage expert said that refloating the Ever Given could take a few days to a week due to the limited draft in the portion of the canal where it is grounded.

There is a spring high tide in the region this weekend that will raise water levels in the canal, and with a shift in the wind direction there are hopes that could help free the vessel.