Suez Canal doubles traffic to clear backlog, from cattle to crude

Waterway remains cost-competitive alternative to African route


Keigo Yoshida, Mao Kawano and Takeshi Kumon, Nikkei Asia (Japan)

March 31, 2021


TOKYO/ISMAILIA, Egypt -- The Suez Canal doubled the volume of ships allowed through the 120-mile waterway on Tuesday as it rushed to clear the backlog of hundreds of vessels after a mammoth carrier had blocked passage for nearly a week.


More than 400 ships were left mired after the 400-meter long Ever Given had become stuck last week. The ship was eventually freed by a flotilla of tugboats on Monday, allowing passage to resume. The 422 vessels in the traffic jam -- carrying everything from cattle to crude oil -- were expected to be cleared in about three-and-a-half days, Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, said.


During a Tuesday news conference, Rabie said 113 ships had crossed in both directions since the route reopened and another 95 are expected to pass by the evening. Normally, between 50 and 85 ships pass through the channel daily, according to Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk, the world's top container shipper.


Rabie said the authority will work day and night...





Modern-day ‘Suez Crisis’ disrupts world trade


Grain Brokers Australia

via Beef Central (AU) - March 30, 2021


THE Suez Canal is a crucial artery in world trade, but its operation suffered a major setback last Tuesday when one of the world’s largest container ships ran aground and blocked transit in both directions. The Ever Given was passing through the Suez Canal en route from the Chinese port of Yantian to Rotterdam, the largest seaport in Europe, when it veered off course in a single-lane stretch of the canal, about six kilometres north of the Red Sea entrance.


The ship was occupying fifth position in a northbound convoy of 20 vessels when it was reportedly hit by a strong wind gust and dust storm near the village of Manshiyet, causing it to deviate from the intended route. However, the Suez Canal authority has since suggested that technical or human error may be to blame. When it came to a halt, diagonally blocking the canal, the bow was wedged firmly into one bank, and the stern was resting against the other.


At 399.94 metres, the Ever Given is one of the longest container ships currently in service, and is operated by Taiwan-based Evergreen Marine Corporation. Its hull has a beam of 58.8m, a depth of 32.9m and a fully laden draft of 14.5m. The vessel’s deadweight is just under 200,000  tonnes, and it has a container capacity of 20,124 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).


A combination of dredging sand and mud from around the ship’s bulbous bow and pulling with as many as 14 tugboats to refloat the stricken carrier had limited success over the weekend. However, following more dredging and favourable tidal conditions, the Suez Canal Authority announced that salvage crews had been successful in partially freeing the vessel just after 0530 local time Monday.  The Ever Given was completely refloated at 0305 local time Monday, and traffic resumed in both directions shortly thereafter.


Long-lasting effects expected ...


US grain flow interrupted ...