Freight Blockage at the Suez Canal
The banking of a 400-metre-long cargo ship has brought the Suez Canal to a standstill on Wednesday afternoon after reportedly blown off course due to strong winds.
One of the largest vessels in the water, the Panamanian EVER GIVEN Container Ship struck the shallow sand banks of the Egyptian coastline before completely blocking off the 193km connection between the Mediterranean Sea and Gulf of Suez, the northmost section of the Red Sea.
Highlighting Importance of Freight Movement
As a passageway from Asia to Europe, the Suez Canal is one of the world’s most important freight routes. In 2020 alone, 1.17 billion tons of cargo across 19,000 ships passed through the canal. The canal also provides a multi-billion dollar yearly revenue for the Egyptian government, who have continuously expanded the trade corridor since it was first built in 1859.
The massive Ever Given stranded in the Suez Canal. Photograph Suez Canal Authority/AFP/Getty Images
It is estimated that 11 billion tons of goods are transported worldwide every year, with 70% as containerised cargo.
The blockage at the Suez Canal has meant crucial shipments of oil, gas and freight moving between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean has been delayed. The effect has been immediate, driving up the prices of commodities across the globe.
Contributing to the Future of Freight
In a continually globalised economy, ocean freight has become increasingly important to the function of international economies. The advent of Covid-19 saw a surge of demand for goods delivered via shipping, overwhelming ports world-wide, which was only further delayed due to the need for quarantine and sanitisation.
At a time when the demand for containers is already at extremely high levels, events such as this impact container shortages even further. It’s becoming even more critical for freight companies to control their container movements, revise their stock of containers and look at more efficient and effective container solutions.
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