Contradictory reports on Suez Canal traffic jam after grounding of container ship

Wednesday, 24 March 2021 18:09:03 (GMT+3)   |   Istanbul
       

The Suez Canal, one of the world’s largest and most vital trade arteries, was blocked by a huge container ship which ran aground late on March 23. The situation, initially estimated by market players as temporary, has still caused a lot of concerns regarding possible increases in freight rates and a further deepening of the container availability crisis. However, according to the latest update, the vessel has been partly refloated, which is a promising sign that the situation will be resolved shortly and that the negative effects on cargo deliveries and market indicators will be minimized. However, it is worth mentioning that some sources report that the information circulating is not entirely accurate and that the traffic jam is still an issue.

The container ship Ever Given, 400 m long and 59 m wide, ran aground and remained wedged across the southern end of the Suez Canal late on March 23. This caused a traffic jam with dozens of ships lining up at both ends of the canal, unable to pass through. While several tugboats have been trying to move the ship, some sources have stated that sand digging operations have been performed. According to the latest information, the vessel has been partially refloated and has been relocated parallel to the canal flow. As a result, sailing conditions through the canal are now considered to be favorable, and so navigation of the canal, according to the latest updates, has been restored and is expected to be further normalized shortly. Shortly after this announcement, some sources objected, stating that the information regarding the relocation of the vessel is incorrect and claimed the vessel is still stuck and causing a problem.

Before the vessel was moved, market players were sharing some negative ideas regarding the possible outcome and the effects on the already record-high freight rates. Moreover, early on the morning of March 24, oil prices had already risen following the slump seen the previous day. Some market sources still foresee that it may take some hours for the situation to return to normal, though most players agree that the worst-case scenario now appears to be off the table if the information regarding the relocation of the vessel is accurate. Earlier, the sources had been expecting the removal of Ever Given to take days or even weeks.


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