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World Opinion: Suez Canal traffic jam blocks the world's jugular vein

03:00  26 march  2021
03:00  26 march  2021 Source:   cnn.com

How That Massive Container Ship Stuck in the Suez Canal Is Already Costing the World Billions of Dollars

  How That Massive Container Ship Stuck in the Suez Canal Is Already Costing the World Billions of Dollars $3 billion a day — and that's not factoring in the environmental tollAs backhoes and tug boats worked around the Panama-flagged Ever Giving’s 400-meter-long hull on Thursday evening, experts began to tot up the economic and environmental ramifications of a protracted obstruction. Meanwhile, vessel tracking data showed that some container ships had already started redirecting around the African Cape, a route that can add two weeks of journey length.

The Suez Canal made headlines on Wednesday. A 59-foot-wide container ship called the Ever Given rammed into the eastern bank of the 120-mile-long Suez Canal. Traveling at a speed of 13 knots (15 mph), the 1,300 foot, 200,000-ton ultra large container ship came to a sudden stop with her bow aground in Asia and her astern at rest in Africa, creating a blockage in a waterway that sees 12% of the world commerce pass through it every year. As of Thursday, tugboats are still working to dislodge the Ever Given.

a large ship in the water: In this photo released by the Suez Canal Authority, a boat navigates in front of a massive cargo ship, named the Ever Green, rear, sits grounded Wednesday, March 24, 2021, after it turned sideways in Egypt's Suez Canal, blocking traffic in a crucial East-West waterway for global shipping. An Egyptian official warned Wednesday it could take at least two days to clear the ship. (Suez Canal Authority via AP) © Suez Canal Authority/AP In this photo released by the Suez Canal Authority, a boat navigates in front of a massive cargo ship, named the Ever Green, rear, sits grounded Wednesday, March 24, 2021, after it turned sideways in Egypt's Suez Canal, blocking traffic in a crucial East-West waterway for global shipping. An Egyptian official warned Wednesday it could take at least two days to clear the ship. (Suez Canal Authority via AP)

This is not a story you hear every day; maritime logistics do not cross most people's minds often, let alone wind up in the national news. But they are nonetheless pivotal to global trade. This story provides a stark reminder of the tenuous nature of our maritime global supply chain and the dangers to maritime choke points.

Tugs and dredgers try to free megaship blocking Suez Canal

  Tugs and dredgers try to free megaship blocking Suez Canal Tugboats and dredgers were working Friday to free a giant container ship blocking Egypt's Suez Canal for a fourth day, forcing companies to re-route services from the vital shipping lane around Africa. The MV Ever Given, which is longer than four football fields, has been wedged diagonally across the entire canal since Tuesday, shutting the waterway in both directions. The blockage has caused a huge traffic jam for more than 200 ships at either end of the 193-kilometre (120-mile) long canal and major delays in the delivery of oil and other products.

The closure of the Suez Canal has massive ramifications. Every day, 3.3 million tons of cargo traverse this waterway. On average, 50 ships arrive at the ports waiting to embark on their day-long passage. As Ever Given remains firmly across the canal, shipping companies will have to fathom the option of sending ships around Africa, adding as much as two weeks to their journey. All of this means a slow down in the delivery of goods, fuel and essential material between Asia and Europe. Factories depending on parts from Asia may have to close, and essential goods and products to battle Covid-19 may be inaccessible. Fuel prices, already high in Europe, could further increase.

A failure of machinery, human error or natural events -- high winds and reduced visibility -- may have caused Ever Given to run ashore in the Suez Canal.

Five things to know about the cargo ship blocking the Suez Canal

  Five things to know about the cargo ship blocking the Suez Canal A massive, 1,300-foot cargo ship remains stuck in the Suez Canal after running aground nearly a week ago and becoming wedged sideways in the waterway, blocking all traffic through the vital shipping lane and causing major traffic jams in the Mediterranean and Red Seas.It soon became clear that major trade delays were on the horizon and would grow with each day the ship wasn't freed.Experts and officials are exploring multiple options to refloat the skyscraper-length vessel, but as of Sunday afternoon its bow section remained wedged in sand and rock.Here are five things to know about the grounded ship and the broader issues it is creating around the world:1.

But its impact will resonate far from its banks as it has blocked the jugular of one of the largest trade routes in human history.

The Suez Canal was opened in November 1869 to great fanfare after 10 years of excavation. A joint endeavor by France and Great Britain, it provided a shorter route to Asia than having to circumnavigate Africa. Connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea, the vital waterway was essential to maritime commerce. In the First World War, Turkish forces tried to attack the canal from the east, and in the Second World War, General Erwin Rommel and the Afrika Korps aimed to do the same from the west.

In 1956, after the war and during the height of anti-colonialism, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the canal, precipitating the Suez Crisis with Israel, France and Great Britain. This resulted in its closing until March 1957. Then, in June 1967, the Six-Day War led to the Suez Canal becoming the border between a warring Egypt and Israel for eight years. The outbreak of the conflict found more than a dozen ships -- the Yellow Fleet -- caught in the canal and trapped for the duration. The crews of this international fleet formed the "Great Bitter Lake Association," and even competed in their own version of the Olympics. The ships remained until 1975.

How the Giant Boat Blocking the Suez Canal Was Freed: Dredgers, Tugboats, and a Full Moon

  How the Giant Boat Blocking the Suez Canal Was Freed: Dredgers, Tugboats, and a Full Moon How a celestial body contributed to the rescue effortsThe recovery vessels took advantage of high spring tides around the full moon on Sunday to free the Ever Given, which had blocked Egypt’s Suez Canal for almost a week. Its partial refloating just before dawn on Monday drew cheers and foghorn blasts from the bridges of other vessels caught in the bi-directional snarl that had held up hundreds of ships and billions of dollars worth of cargo each day since March 23.

This closure forced a revolution in maritime transportation with the creation of supertankers -- very large crude carriers. With the canal closed, ship designers built ships that were too large for the Suez Canal and had to sail around the Cape of Good Hope. This economy of scale in transportation has evolved from supertankers to mega cruise ships and container ships such as Ever Given. In 1956, American Malcolm McLean developed the concept of intermodalism. Instead of individual goods being loaded into a truck, then offloaded at a port, and then loaded into a ship and the process reversed, he developed the modular shipping container, which allowed for containers filled with goods to be transferred, streamlining the process. When SS Ideal X sailed from Newark, New Jersey, to Houston, Texas, with 58 containers on its deck, McLean could not have envisioned a ship the size and scale of Ever Given.

By 2020, containerized cargo made up nearly 40% of the 11 billion tons shipped on the world's oceans annually. The movement of goods by container has continually grown except during the economic recession of 2008 and the tariff fight between China and the United States along with the Covid-19 crisis in 2020. One of the main arteries for this trade runs between Eastern Asia and Europe.

Egypt has opened a formal investigation into how the Ever Given got stuck in the Suez Canal

  Egypt has opened a formal investigation into how the Ever Given got stuck in the Suez Canal A Suez Canal Authority advisor told Reuters that authorities plan to focus on the state of the ship and the captain's actions before the grounding.Captain Sayed Sheaysha, an advisor to the Suez Canal Authority, said that experts would board the ship on Wednesday to try and gather information, the BBC reported.

The 23 million containers that moved between Asia and Europe in 2020 sailed through some of history's most contested waters, such as the Strait of Singapore and Malacca Strait, the Bab-el-Mandeb, the Straits of Gibraltar and the most relevant today, the Suez Canal.

Great Britain controlled all these maritime choke points during its imperial height. It allowed Britain to influence ocean commerce and trade. Today, many of these are patrolled and regulated by international conventions and patrolled by navies, but the Suez Canal is wholly owned and controlled by Egypt.

a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Sal Mercogliano © Bennett Scarborough Sal Mercogliano

Suez Canal Ship Update as Ever Given Blockage Backlog Set to Finally be Cleared .
The last remaining 61 ships of the 422 that were caught in a backlog after the Ever Given got stuck will finally be able to continue with their journey.Officials at the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said the last ships that were stranded after the massive vessel would pass through today, according to Reuters.

usr: 1
This is interesting!