Suez Canal: race against time to free the freighter

Suez Canal: race against time to free the freighter

The SUEZ Canal Authority (SCA) will hold a press conference in the next few hours, during which the president of the SCA, Lieutenant General Osama Rabei, will comment on the latest developments regarding the efforts to unblock the Japanese ship Evergreen, who walked the canal five days ago. The Evergreen ship, 400 meters long, 59 meters wide and with a capacity of 224,000 tons, has stranded due to bad weather and sandstorm and wedged diagonally into the channel. Being stuck in the Suez passage, the Evergreen ship caused the suspension of international maritime trade all along the canal. SCA announced on Friday that it fielded 9 giant tugs, including “Baraka 1” and “Izzat Adel”, following the completion of dredging works near the bow of the ship using the “Mashhour” dredger. Rabie further explained that the process of clearing the cargo is conditioned by several factors, including the direction of the wind and the state of the tide, which makes it a “complex technical process” with unique procedures and multiple attempts.

The authority also added that it is in contact with the Japanese company (Shoei Kisen Kaisha, Ltd), owner of the Ever Given ship, to resolve the crisis.

Suez Canal, the consequences of the blockade

The current block in the Suez passage it may not be a one-off. The blockade is still causing major problems for the consumer supply chain, which is already under considerable stress from the pandemic. No ship as long or heavy as the Ever Date has blocked the channel before. A similar-sized ship blocked the Elbe River in Germany five years ago and was only released after six days, but some have suggested that it could take weeks to free the Japanese ship. The SUEZ problem could soon exacerbate shipping costs and these could be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices or absorbed by retailers already under pressure.

The ship was bound for Rotterdam from China. Shipping news company Lloyd’s List calculated that the blockade after Ever Given cargo was framed, costs about $ 400 million an hour, with the westbound traffic of the canal estimated at approx 5.1 billion dollars a day and the eastbound traffic a 4.5 billion dollars a day. Hundreds of ships are currently overdue. For non-essential UK retailers, which are preparing to reopen from 12 April, this is a delay that could be a huge problem. Trade bodies in multiple countries are working with their carriers to assess the situation, but with billions of dollars worth of goods stuck on ships that can’t go anywhere, there is currently very little they can do, other than possibly decide whether to divert ships to Africa and further increase the time required for shipping. About 12% of total global trade moves through the SUEZ channel and nearly a third of the daily container shipment volumes.

Due to the queues that have built up, once the channel is unblocked, it will take some time to clear the existing queues and could have a ripple effect on flows and shipping costs for months to come.

Suez Canal: Coldiretti, made in Italy exports to China slow down

The blockade of the Suez Canal is holding back Italy’s trade exchanges with Asia and, in particular, with China. In difficulty are all the main national food products packaged and transported by ship, from wine to extra virgin olive oil. But the arrivals of the barrels of almost 70 million kilos of Chinese tomato concentrate that landed in Italy last year are also blocked. This is what emerges from Coldiretti’s analysis of the effects of the accident on the Suez Canal for the Italian agri-food sector. “A delicate situation”, comments the confederation, “which comes precisely at a time of resumption of Made in Italy shipments to the Asian giant with a 19.4% growth in food exports in January 2021”

But what is shocked, notes Coldiretti, is the entire world market of agricultural raw materials, already in tension due to the pandemic with prices that have reached the maximum level worldwide for almost seven years, driven by rising prices for sugar. , vegetable oils, cereals, milk and meat, according to Coldiretti elaborations on Fao data in February 2021. To pull the sprint – underlines Coldiretti – are the international prices of corn, which jumped 45.5% compared to in the same month of the previous year, while wheat prices rose by 19.8%, but an upward trend was also recorded for the FAO index of sugar, vegetable oils, dairy and meat prices. “With the pandemic – continues Coldiretti – a scenario of reduced trade, hoarding, speculation and uncertainty has begun that the accident on the Suez Canal risks aggravating. Without forgetting the impact on oil prices with the increase in energy costs for a country like Italy where 85% of commercial transport takes place on the road with an avalanche effect on expenditure due to the increase in transport costs as well as those of production, transformation and conservation. effects of the jump in fuel prices – concludes Coldiretti – is the entire agri-food system where the expenditure for logistics reaches 30 to 35% of the total costs for fruit and vegetables “. (


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