The International Trade Council has reported that an estimated $9.6bn (£7bn) worth of goods are held up every day due to the stranded Ever Given mega-container ship in the Suez Canal. The canal is a vital passageway between the East and West, with approximately 12% of total global trade moving through it. Shipping expert Lloyd's List values the westbound traffic at roughly $5.1bn a day, and eastbound daily traffic at around $4.5bn.
Despite ongoing efforts to free the ship, it could take weeks to remove, leading to huge tailbacks of other ships attempting to pass through the canal. This includes more than 160 vessels, such as 41 bulk carriers and 24 crude tankers, according to Lloyd's List tracking data.
Container ships have nearly doubled in size in the past decade, making the job of moving them much harder when they get stuck. Jon Monroe, who runs his own ocean transportation consultancy, commented on the situation, saying, "What are we thinking? Have vessels gotten too large? Containers being jettisoned overboard, delayed transits due to terminal congestion and let us not forget the long line of vessels at many ports waiting for a berth."
The delays caused by the blockage will continue to affect supplies and could last days or even weeks, further straining global supply chains already impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Some companies are considering alternatives, such as flying replacement merchandise for higher-value products, or transporting them via trains.
The International Maritime Organisation's Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, has called for patience from stakeholders across the supply chain as everyone works to ensure that the ship, its crew, its cargo and the environment remain protected. The International Trade Council remains committed to monitoring the situation and providing updates on the impact of the blockage on global trade.