The Ever Given, a shipping tank whose size has been compared to the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower that was blocking the Suez Canal has finally been freed. Refloating the ship was a lengthy effort involving tugboats and dredgers.
The colossal cargo vessel is expected to be back en route to Rotterdam shortly, allowing other ships to also use the crucial waterway.
The ship ran aground diagonally across the single-lane stretch of the southern canal on Tuesday, March 23, as a sandstorm hit Egypt. The Suez Canal Authority announced the successful refloating of the vessel. However, the canal has not yet been fully unblocked and the 321 vessels waiting for the canal to reopen will have to wait a little longer.
A commodities trader told WAYA two days into the incident “What will be affected, of course, is traffic. The Boat owners, their vessel is not functioning and these boats can cost up to $15,000 for one day’s rent, so boat owners are affected by the delay” He stated that those who chartered a vessel are also “people could get affected by the supply of commodities”. He explained that two days’ worth of delays in the commodities world is not a big deal and he believes the problem will be resolved very quickly. He said “I don’t think it’ll last forever, it’s a question of a day or two, so you won’t have a huge impact on the world trade. It’s just a sensational thing that the Suez Canal is blocked but I don’t really think it has a big impact yet.”
However, when we spoke to him after 5 days of the blockage, he admitted that the issue was more problematic than he had anticipated.
Each day of the blockage disrupted more than $9 billion worth of goods, which translates to about $400 million per hour. This costly business led some ship operators to re-route their vessels around the Cape of Good Hope, another costly endeavor that looked like the best option only yesterday. Those who took this route have added more than a week of sailing.
It is unclear now how the Suez Canal Authority will handle a backlog of 6 days worth of traffic.
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