Ship Logjam Doubles With Little Room to Maneuver: Suez Update

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The logjam of ships building up around the Suez Canal has doubled, with the tight width of the key international waterway making it difficult to salvage the giant container ship that went aground and blocked it.

Work to re-float the Ever Given and allow passage for oceangoing carriers hauling almost $10 billion of oil and consumer goods could take days, or even weeks.

The blocking of the waterway is creating another setback for global supply chains already strained by the e-commerce boom linked to the pandemic. About 12% of global trade goes through the canal that’s so strategic world powers have fought over it.

Ship Logjam Doubles With Little Room to Maneuver: Suez Update

Key Highlights:

  • A.P. Moller-Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd consider sending ships around Africa
  • 237 vessels were queued up Thursday, up from 185 Wednesday
  • The front of the ship is wedged around 5 meters (16 feet) into the canal’s wall
  • Dredging has been done to remove sand from around the front hull
  • Attempts to re-float the vessel have restarted again on Thursday

All time stamps London

Not Much Room to Maneuver (3:39 p.m.)

It’s no wonder the stuck Ever Given in the Suez Canal is creating such a headache.

The key trade route is narrow -- less than 675 feet wide (205 meters) in some places -- and can be difficult to navigate. Work to re-float the giant container ship -- about a quarter mile long (400 meters) -- and allow passage for oceangoing carriers hauling almost $10 billion of everything from commodities to consumer goods continued without success on Thursday in Egypt.

The blockage highlights a major risk faced by the shipping industry as more and more vessels, which are getting bigger and bigger, transit maritime choke points including the Suez, Panama Canal and the Strait of Hormuz.

Ship Logjam Doubles With Little Room to Maneuver: Suez Update

Big Container Lines Consider Diverting Ships Around Africa (3:27 p.m.)

A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S and Hapag-Lloyd AG, two of the world’s largest container carriers, said they’re considering sending ships around Africa to avoid a bottleneck in the Suez Canal.

Copenhagen-based Maersk in a statement said the company is considering all alternatives including diverting around the Cape of Good Hope. No decision has been made and it will depend on how long the delays last. Maersk said earlier that seven of its vessels are affected by the blocked waterway.

In a separate statement, Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd said it’s monitoring the situation “and closely follows the implications on its services. We are presently looking into possible vessel diversions around Cape of Good Hope.” It said it has five ships involved.

Traffic Jam at Suez Canal Has Doubled to 237 Ships (3:21 p.m.)

The number of ships waiting to enter the Suez Canal is lengthening as the waterway remains blocked.

Data compiled by Bloomberg shows there are 237 vessels queued up Thursday, compared with 185 counted on Wednesday and around 100 at the start of the blockage.

Suez Blockage Forces LNG Suppliers to Begin Shifting Flows (3:18 p.m.)

There may only be one liquefied natural gas tanker stuck inside the Suez Canal behind the marooned Ever Given, but there are already signs the blockage is beginning to disrupt global LNG flows.

The Golar Tundra, which loaded the gas in Egypt, was scheduled to arrive in Pakistan by the end of the month until the hold-up in the canal, according to traders with knowledge of the matter. The South Asian nation is now in discussions with its supplier about finding an alternative cargo, they said.

Ship Logjam Doubles With Little Room to Maneuver: Suez Update

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