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The Suez Canal is one of the most important sea routes in the world. Recently, garnered attention globally. That’s because a container ship named Ever Given blocked the Suez Canal for almost a week.
On 23rd March 2021, the 400-meter-long container ship was caught in a sandstorm, dislocated from its course and its bow and stern logged itself on the canal banks. It took six days for Ever Given to be freed. Images of it being stuck went viral online and the ship became the centre of memes and global debate on the state of affairs of the shipping industry. Moreover, this blockage had severe implications on the maritime industry as well as on the economy. According to Bloomberg, this blockage halted 10% of all global trade. Additionally, over 369 ships had queued up in the canal waiting to pass through.
Here are Alphard’s top key takeaways from the Suez Canal Blockage:
1. The need for better infrastructure
The Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, is one of the busiest routes in the world of global trade. The canal, which was built in the 19th century, has only a capacity of 50 vessels each day. However, with demands rising globally, the Suez Canal infrastructure is not equipped to handle the burgeoning pressure. A global effort needs to be undertaken to update the Suez Canal to accommodate the current and future rise in traffic and worldwide trade.
2. A single delay in shipping impacts the world
On the surface, it may seem as simply the grounding of a container ship, however, the Suez Canal Blockage has implications beyond causing a maritime ‘traffic jam’. The Suez Canal is responsible for most of the world’s oil and raw material transport. Owing to the delay caused by Ever Given, consumers will now end up paying 5% higher for oil all over the world. Thus, a key moral of the Suez Canal Blockage is that Maritime activities, though seemingly invisible, are crucial to the functioning of the world and issues plaguing the industry need to be taken seriously.
3. Shipping Disaster Management needs to up its strategy
The Suez Canal is prone to strong gusts of winds and sandstorms. Every ship that sails through it should now have a strategy ready in case a blockage is to occur or in case they encounter any unforeseen circumstances. These plans need to be designed keeping in the consequences a blockage can cause global economies.
Those were our two top takeaways. While we’ve sailed past this blockage, let’s anchor it as a lesson that we need industry-wide support to make sure global supply chains and trade flows smoothly.