- BBC World News
After almost a week of effort and uncertainty, this Monday the huge cargo ship Ever Given was finally refloated in the Suez Canal.
Being one of the main economic arteries in the world – through which more than 12% of total trade passes – its stagnation has brought a series of consequences that will end up affecting the pockets of millions of people.
It is estimated that at least 369 boats they were waiting to pass, including container freighters and oil and natural gas tankers.
The situation has caused great concern and frustration in the shipping industry.
Here are some numbers to help you gauge the problem.
How much has the blockade cost?
Almost two million barrels of oil and approximately the 8% natural gas Smoothies pass through the Suez Canal every day.
This causes a strong impact on the price of these products. In fact, on the day of the suspension of canal traffic, world oil prices rose more than 6%.
Osama Rabie, head of the Suez Canal Authority (ACS), said that the grounding of the freighter was strongly impacting the canal, costing it between US$14 a US$15 millones for each day of lockdown.
This, despite the fact that the canal opened an older passage to allow the transit of other ships.
The canal is a key source of income for Egypt. Until before the pandemic, the trade that passed through here contributed to the 2% of the country’s GDP, according to Moody’s.
On the other hand, according to data from the analysis and data magazine Lloyd’s List, the beached freighter has retained a trade estimated at US$9.600 millions every day. That works out to $ 400 million and 3.3 million tons of cargo per hour, or $ 6.7 million per minute.
Strong reduction in business growth
If we look at the bigger picture, according to the analysis of the German insurer Allianz, the blockade could cost world trade between US$6.000 million and US $ 10.000 a week and reduce annual business growth between 0,2 and 0,4 percentage points.
The maritime dispatch company Braemar ACM assured the Wall Street Journal that the cost of renting some ships to ship cargo to and from Asia and the Middle East had risen by 47%, reaching the 2,2 million dollars.
Some vessels have been diverted to avoid the Suez Canal. But that’s delaying your travels by around eight days.
Countless companies affected
The blockade of the Suez Canal does not just affect the global shipping industry or the Egyptian economy: countless companies are also affected, from domestic transport providers to retailers, supermarkets and manufacturers.
And it is that this maritime passage is vital for supply chains around the world and its blocking can translate into future saturations of ports in different countries.
For example, the British company Seaport Freight Services has 20 freight containers stranded in the canal.
“We are expecting food products like coconut milk and syrups, some spare parts for engines, some Amazon products, of all kinds,” Steve Parks, director of Seaport Freight Services, told the BBC.
“All of our clients have found out and are calling us to ask when it will be resolved,” he added.
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There was so much concern about the delay in the transfer of products that some companies even analyzed the option of sending them by air transport, which costs at least three more times.
All of the above without considering that only the Ever Given freighter is transporting 18,300 containers that have not been able to reach port.
“There are millions of dollars in basic products on the other ships, and if the canal is not cleared quickly then they will look to take other routes, which means more time, more fuel and more costs that could be passed on to consumers,” he said Ian Woods, a maritime trade lawyer for the London firm Clyde & Co in an interview for NBC.
This situation adds to the strong problems that the coronavirus pandemic has caused in the shipping industry, with delays and route changes that have added to the already deep economic crisis of many companies.
One of the largest ships in the world
El Ever Given mide 400 meters long and weighs 200,000 tons, with a maximum capacity of 20,000 containers. This makes it one of the largest freighters in the world.
Until Sunday, there was 369 boats trapped waiting to go through this navigable channel of 193 kilometers.
Inaugurated in 1869, this important sea passage is located in Egypt and joins the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea.
Since the pass was blocked by Ever Given, there have been more than 145,200 social interactions on Twitter using the hashtag #SuezBLOCKED and their mentions have been shared at least 133.000 times, based on real-time analysis from brand monitoring platform BrandMentions.
The work to refloat the freighter will continue throughout Monday. According to the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), they are waiting for the tide to rise to resume operation.
Meanwhile, the hundreds of boats trapped in the sea passage anxiously await the reopening that is expected to be during the last hours of this Monday.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.