Suez Canal: traffic blocked by huge container ship “Ever Given”

The cases | Events

The Suez Canal was blocked for almost a week by the wedged container ship. 

In fact, the “Ever Given” vessel ran aground diagonally crossing the southern stretch of the canal last Tuesday, after losing the capacity to navigate amid high winds and a dust storm. The reduced visibility and the intensity of the storm stuck the ship obliquely in the most uncomfortable way possible, stopping ship transit in both direction along the canal.

The ship is 400 meters long and 59 meters wide. It is one of the largest container ship in the world, built in 2018 and managed by the shipping company Evergreen. The “Ever Given” was heading from China to the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and get stucked in the Suez Canal arriving from Red Sea. Numerous tugs have worked to free the ship, using dredges and excavations, but the dislodging operations were particularly difficult and long, thus suspending navigation for several days, with direct consequences on world trade, in an already difficult pandemic context. 

This suspension of navigation affects about 12% of global trade, as the Suez Canal (located in Egypt) is one of the the world’s most important maritime arteries. Built between 1859 and 1869, it connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean without circumnavigating Africa. The Stock Exchange Deputation of Trieste, or the current Chamber of Commerce of Venezia Giulia, directly participated in the company that built the Suez Canal, investing in the French Society for the Canal, of which Pasquale Revoltella from Trieste was the vice president, together with Lesseps, the main project promoter and executor. Every day, more than 50 ships pass through the canal. In 2020, a total of around 19,000 vessels passed through the canal carrying around 1.17 billion tonnes of cargo. Today, nearly 400 ships are waiting to transit Suez Canal in both directions.

The suspension of traffic through the Suez Canal has intensified problems for maritime transport and shipping lines, that were already facing disruption and delays in supplying goods, due to the emergency linked to the empty container shortage and the Coronavirus pandemic.