As you will have seen in the press today, the Suez Canal remains blocked despite best efforts made to free the stranded cargo ship. This incident is unfortunately causing some delays to shipments between Asia and the UK.
The 400m-long vessel became wedged sideways across the vital waterway on Tuesday, blocking the path of other vessels which are trapped and queuing in both directions. We understand that there are now 235 ships currently believed to be queueing to pass through the canal.
The rescue efforts so far have focused on dredging to remove sediment and mud from around the port side of the vessel’s bow to free it from the sand bank in which it is lodged. The Suez Canal Authority, which operates the waterway, has deployed tugboats and additional specialist dredging tools that are able to shift 2,000 cu m of material every hour. All navigation within the canal has been halted and the 12 vessels that were waiting in close proximity to the Ever Given have now been removed to give the salvage effort more space to work.
It has been reported that the salvage operation is working towards a massive push this weekend, which coincides with a high tide which might help re-float the vessel. However, as it is unclear whether the effort will succeed, contingency plans are being prepared in case of an unsuccessful outcome. They include the possibility of re-routing vessels waiting outside of the canal or still at origin to other shipping lanes with longer transit times, with delays to schedules anticipated.
It is our expectation that even if the situation is resolved within the next few days, some UK port congestion and further delays to an already constrained supply chain is unfortunately inevitable. We will keep customers updated with further news at the earliest opportunity.
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