The Suez Canal has reopened, but the impact of the almost week-long blockage will have ripple effects on global supply chains for weeks to come.
As you will have heard in the press, traffic has resumed in Egypt’s Suez Canal after the stranded container ship blocking it for nearly a week was finally freed by salvage crews. The massive cargo ship blocking the Suez Canal was fully refloated on Monday. Within hours other ships awaiting passage were able to move again, raising hopes that one of the world’s most vital waterways would quickly bounce back and the disruption to global trade would be limited.
Since the canal was reopened for transit, we have seen good progress of ships passing through this week. However, there has also been a steady flow of vessels arriving to join the queue and as such, we expect that it will take until the end of the week to move all queuing ships through the canal and for the full clearance of the backlog to occur.
Despite this positive news, we unfortunately anticipate that the knock-on effect on global shipping could take weeks or even months to resolve. The challenge for carriers now is to get services back on schedule, as there are a large number of vessels that have been delayed for almost a full week due to the blockage and have been waiting either outside of the canal or have been redirected around the Cape of Good Hope. Inevitably, shipments will reach their destination much later than planned. We anticipate congestion when they arrive in port in the UK and there will be significant pressure added to container equipment availability and capacity availability in the coming period.
Regrettably, we expect disruption to schedules over a number of weeks as a result of this incident. Despite these challenges we would like to reassure our customers that we are working to limit the impact as much as possible. We will keep you updated of further developments as and when they happen.