Many of our PFN Partners have reported on the blockage of the Suez Canal. Read what they say… As is widely reported in the Global media, the VLCS “Ever Given” was grounded during transit of the Suez Canal on Tuesday 23rd March, completely blocking the canal for the passage of other vessels.
PFN Mexico, Noatum Project Cargo says-: So far, all attempts to refloat the vessel have been unsuccessful and it is currently unknown how long the salvage process will take due to the difficult nature of the operation. Multiple salvage teams are in-situ or en-route to join the efforts, however, some reports state that it will take several days, maybe even weeks to resolve the situation.
As the Suez Canal is the main trade artery between Europe and Asia, this will have significant impacts on what is already a challenging situation in terms of vessel delays, congestion in many ports, and container shortages driving freight rates to record high levels and space on vessels at a premium. Keep in mind that in a typical week, around 70-90 container ships would transit the Suez.
The potential consequences are:
- Delays on vessels on all Asia – Mid East – Europe services transiting the Suez Canal
- Vessels will be out of position for return voyages which may result in blank voyages in Asia in the coming weeks to get schedules back on track
- Empty containers will be in even shorter supply as it takes longer for the laden containers on vessels to be resituated and returned
- Capacity demand will be high in the coming weeks and we recommend planning and booking your shipments as early as possible to secure capacity
- Some urgent cargoes may switch to airfreight putting further pressure on capacity and rate
PFN Finland, FREJA Finland says -: The blockage of one of the busiest channels in the world is reflected in the flow of goods around the world. The stalled Ever Given, owned by a Japanese shipping company, is one of the largest container vessels in the world. The cause of the accident is reportedly strong wind and bad weather caused by a sandstorm. The crashed cargo ship is blocking traffic from more than 200 large container ships, oil tankers, and bulk carriers. Prolonged congestion means major delivery problems for cargo passing through the canal.
“It is impossible at this stage to assess the extent of the consequences of the accident. Especially when there is no definite information about the duration of the rescue work. And it is not possible to know at what stage the traffic of the canal will return to normal after the rescue work is completed”, says Jarkko Lamminpää, Overseas Director of FREJA Transport & Logistics Oy.
PFN Sweden, Eva Brasar, Global Head of Ocean Freight, Scan Global, reports on the situation.
As this Monday 29th of March, marks a new week, the salvage efforts to afloat the Ever Given start to make progress.
The Ever Given now has water under her bow again and has moved slightly from her gridlock position. The initial plan was to free the vessel this past weekend; however, the best chance is believed to be during Monday, when a spring tide will raise the canal’s water level as much as 18 inches.
The current Suez Canal blockage is causing one of the most significant disruptions to global trade in recent years. With the canal remaining closed for all maritime traffic, several ocean container carriers have decided to utilize the option of sailing around the Cape of Good Hope. While three hundred vessels are waiting for the canal to be cleared, most carriers are expected to opt for this re-routing due to uncertainty of when passage through the Suez Canal will again be possible.
This will lead to increased transit times of approximately one week and higher fuel costs; however, for now, no information is available on potential cost impact. Further disruption is expected when the canal re-opens with the huge backlog of ships waiting to pass through the canal. This has the implication of creating further bottlenecks due to a surge of arrivals to the ports of destinations with heavy port congestion as a consequence.
We expect the delays and re-routings to affect both vessels and empty equipment repositioning for several months. With container carriers being cautious of building further backlogs, we also expect that sailings during the coming weeks from Asia and Europe will be affected. Specifically, we expect many cancelled sailings, and thereby total space allocation to be reduced significantly, putting further strain on an already strained industry.
All of our PFN Partners are informing their customers and updating them on the current situation, delays and consequences. As PFN we want to say thank you and we are proud of such a reactive and active team of professionals.
Infomation sources: https://www.noatumlogistics.com/suez-canal-accident-solutions/ & https://www.freja.com/fi/uutiset/merikuljetuksille-vaihtoehtoina-juna-ja-lentorahti/?utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=continues & scangl.com/news/suez-canal-update/