ICS on blockage of the Suez Canal

Ever Given vessel grounded in Suez

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has released a statement on the ongoing blockage of the Suez Canal by the ship Ever Given, noting that the incident lays bare the fragility of global supply chains.

Guy Platten, secretary general of the ICS, said:

“This kind of incident is rare, and it is a relief to see that no crew were injured and there has been no pollution. We hope that the Ever Given will be re-floated soon so that trade can resume through this vital waterway, and I know huge efforts are underway to achieve this.

“The world relies on the shipping sector to keep all of us supplied and the incident in the Suez Canal has shone a spotlight on the delicate nature of these global supply chains.

“The literal ‘pinch point’ of Suez is a prime example of how an unexpected incident can disrupt the finely balanced system that we all rely on.”

“The majority of trade between Asia and Europe still relies on the Suez Canal, and given that vital goods including vital medical equipment and PPE, are moving via these ships we call on the Egyptian authorities do all they can to reopen the canal as soon as possible.”

An estimated 12% of global trade passes through the Suez Canal, comprising more than one billion tonnes of goods each year.

Guy Platten continued: “Not only will the goods aboard the Ever Given be severely delayed on their journey, but the hundreds of other ships are also affected. The damage done to the global supply chain will be significant.”

“This also speaks to a deeper problem. The governments and markets are sitting up and paying attention to this issue as we can clearly see an economic fallout from the delay to goods the blockage will cause. But shipping’s ongoing crew change crisis has been largely still invisible to wider public. Crew are still working hard around the globe to keep global trade moving, despite 200,000 seafarers being impacted by overly harsh restrictions which stop them boarding or disembarking ships.”

“We hope this incident will remind governments of the vital role that seafarers and shipping plays in keeping the world supplied. Seafarers must not be forgotten as soon as this incident is over.”

EverGiven Ship

The 400-metre-long (1,300 ft)  container vessel Ever Given, carrying cargo between Asia and Europe, ran aground in the Suez Canal, Egypt on 23 March 2021, preventing any vessels from passing through.

Roughly 30% of the world’s shipping container volume transits through the 193-kilometre Suez Canal daily. A total of $9.6 billion per day may be halted in ship traffic due to the blockage, an assessment by Lloyd’s List indicated on Thursday.

The vessel, operated by the Taiwanese company Evergreen Marine, remained stuck as of Thursday night despite “continuous” efforts to refloat it, according to canal service provider Leth Agencies.

Established in 1921, London-based ICS is the global trade association for shipowners and operators, representing the world’s national shipowner associations and over 80 % of the world merchant fleet. ICS has members from around 40 countries.

UPDATE 29/03/2021

Ever Given was successfully re-floated at 04:30 on Monday and traffic in the waterway resumed. Egyptian TV showed the vessel positioned in the centre of the canal. Some 400 ships, including oil tankers and vessels, carrying goods to consumers had been stuck in the canal, leaving them with millions in expenses. Shipping rates for oil product tankers nearly doubled after Ever Given became stranded.

Senior marine risk manager at Allianz, Captain Andrew Kinsey, warned the impact of Suez Canal blockage would last for months. “With these vessels, they’re carrying cargo, and they’re also carrying empty boxes on a backhaul to redistribute the global supply of containers,” Kinsey told CNBC, adding that “we’re going to see a lag in arrivals and then we’re going to see a surge at certain ports, while these vessels then show up.”

UPDATE 03/04/2021

The maritime traffic jam- visible from space- has now been cleared the Suez Canal Authority said Saturday (April 3).

“All waiting ships crossed the shipping course today,” said Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, in a statement.

Some 422 ships have now cleared the vital artery, with the final 61 vessels passing through the waterway on Saturday.