Suez Canal. The most expensive traffic jam in the world

On March 23, the container ship Ever Given, owned by Evergreen Marine, unexpectedly ran aground while passing through the Suez Canal, one of the world’s most important trade routes connecting the Red and Mediterranean Seas. The vessel stopped across the channel and completely blocked movement in both directions. More than 150 ships with cargo valued at $10 billion were trapped, which has already led to a soaring price for sea freight, as reported by Bloomberg. It also writes that the closure of the Suez Canal results in a loss of about $9.6 billion daily.

Among those stuck in the traffic jam are ships carrying crude oil, petroleum products, as well as liquefied natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas. Most of the ships carried grain. The canal, which connects the Mediterranean with the Red Sea and provides the shortest maritime link between Asia and Europe, accounts for about 12% of maritime trade. These are 19 thousand ships annually, or about 50 daily. Thus, not only the ships were trapped, but also, figuratively speaking, the Suez Canal itself. This plug can deservedly become the most expensive in the history of mankind.

Ever Given

The ship “Ever Given”, en route from China to the Netherlands, has a length of 400 meters (for comparison, this is approximately equal to the length of four football fields), a width of 59 meters and can carry more than 20 thousand cargo containers, which makes it one of the largest container ships in the world.

After clarifying the circumstances of the incident, the Suez Canal Administration and the ship’s operator reported that Ever Given ran aground as it lost control due to strong winds and sandstorms. At the moment, none of the crew members were injured.

This is not the first time in the history of the Suez Canal that ships ran aground and blocked traffic on it. However, the longest of these “traffic jams” lasted no more than three days. And this is the first time that the channel was blocked by such a large ship.

Initially, it was assumed that movement along the channel will resume in a few days. At first, several other vessels tried to tow the container ship. When it became clear that this was not working, it was decided to remove a large amount of sand from under the bow of the container ship, thus deepening the bottom under the vessel itself. Therefore, now, instead of several days of delays, they are predicting several weeks. It may also be necessary to unload the container ship to make it easier to tow from the shallows.

What will happen if the Suez Canal is not opened in the near future?

Experts say that in this case, all ships from Asia will have to sail bypassing Africa. This means that the delivery time of goods will increase, the cost of transportation costs will increase. And to all this can be added the problem of the lack of free containers and container ships.

On March 23, the container ship ran aground, and only on March 25, in the Suez Canal, they began to deepen the bottom under it. This was reported by the administration of the Suez Canal itself. So that the vessel can be removed from the shallows, sand in the amount of 15-20 thousand cubic meters should be removed from under its bow. The work is already underway. At the same time, the container ship is trying to pull nine tugs from the shallows.

Suez Canal

A funny fact that has confused many. The ship itself, which ran aground in the Suez Canal, has the name “Ever Given”. And the name of the shipping company that owns this vessel is Evergreen Marine. And Evergreen is its short name. And it is it that is written in huge letters on the container ship “Ever Given”. Many people thought it was a typo. The company has many other ships with very similar names. These are Ever Grit, Ever Grade, Ever Goodz, Ever Golden, Ever Glory and so on.

We hope you found our article interesting. What do you think about it? How much will this event affect us? 

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