TRAFFIC BUILDS AT SEA AS GIANT SHIP BLOCKS EGYPT'S VITAL SUEZ CANAL
A giant cargo ship named Ever Given has blocked Egypt's Suez Canal, causing long tailbacks in the waterway with more than 150 vessels waiting to pass through the vital trade international artery.
The giant cargo ship is a 222,000 ton, 400-metre long mega-ship owned by a Japanese but operated by a Taiwanese firm known as Evergreen Marine.
The vessel got stuck across the canal on Tuesday amid high winds and a dust storm.
Efforts of Marine, salvage engineers, and other experts to dislodge the cargo have so far been futile, leading to growing concerns.
About 12 percent of global trade passes through the Suez Canal which provides the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.
The incentive for vessels to arrive as scheduled has grown more acute within the decade with the rise of just-in-time supply chains and this delay might cause congestion at the ports.
“When the canal reopens, this will mean that the delayed cargo will now arrive at the same time as cargo behind it which is still on track,” Lars Jensen, the chief executive of SeaIntelligence Consulting said.
Vessels can ply through an alternative route around the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa, however, the trip can take two weeks longer.
Meanwhile, Shoei Kishen Kaisa, the owner of the cargo ship has apologised for the disruption to global trade.
Kaisa, in a statement released on Thursday, said it was trying to resolve the situation as soon as possible.
"In co-operation with local authorities and Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, a vessel management company, we are trying to refloat [the Ever Given], but we are facing extreme difficulty.
"We sincerely apologise for causing a great deal of worry to ships in the Suez Canal and those planning to go through the canal," excerpts from the statement read.