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Hopes Raised as Ship Freed from Suez Canal

After being wedged across the Suez Canal for nearly a week, the stern of one of the world’s largest container ships has been partially freed, raising hopes for billions worth of trade resuming its journey.

The course of the Japanese owned 1,300ft Ever Given has been corrected by 80% after rescue workers from the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and a team from Dutch firm Smit Salvage used tug boats to free the vessel, according to two marine and shipping sources. Alongside the tugs, dredgers have been digging out sand and mud from under the bow of the vessel.

The stern, which had been 4m from the shore, was now 102m clear, the Suez Canal Authority said, adding that the boat had been fully refloated.

The grounding of Ever Given is just the latest issue in the ongoing container crisis which began to be pressured since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ever Given has been blocking one of the world’s most important water transportation routes and created a very expensive traffic jam of goods. 

The 120-mile long canal links the Mediterranean Sea to Red Sea and is the most direct shipping route from Europe to Asia. The alternative route around Cape of Good Hope takes two weeks longer. 

An estimated $9.6bn (£7bn) of goods has been held up each day of the crisis. Around 12% of total global trade moves through the Suez Canal. 

A total of 367 vessels are waiting to pass through, and officials have said it will take three and a half days to clear the hold up.

The 200,000-tonne Ever Given ran aground on Tuesday (23rd March) morning, due to adverse weather conditions of high winds and a sandstorm that affected visibility. 

The Suez Canal crisis will only add to the pressure already felt in the shipping and freight industry since last year when the early and continuing effects of covid-19 affected resources. Currently there simply isn’t the resource to unload and reload containers. They are stacking up at ports globally along with lines of ships waiting to dock their cargo.

And it’s not good news for toilet paper manufacturers either as it looks set to be the next victim of the ongoing container crisis, caused by the huge demand from China.

Suzano SA, the world’s biggest producer of wood pulp, which is the raw material used in toilet paper, has warned that the global crunch in shopping containers could create supply issues. 

The pulp is transported in cargo vessels known as break bulk. With demand rising for ships that carry ribbed steel containers, there are threats of the company’s shipments being delayed, according to Chief Executive Officer Walter Schalka. 

This warning from Suzano SA is a major sign of the spillover into other shipping markets. If the squeeze continues to increase freight costs, it also raises the risk of accelerating inflation.

At this time, guaranteeing delivery dates in this moment isn’t something businesses can offer with any certainty given the limitations of the supply chain capabilities worldwide driven by the reasons outlined above.
As always, the TyTek team will keep you advised and appraised of your order with us. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

For more updates, check out Suez Canal: Ever Given container ship shifted from shoreline - BBC News