Floating Contact Form Portlet
Asset Publisher

Back Customer Information: Suez Canal Gridlock

A large container vessel ran aground accidentally in the Suez Canal, blocking now one of the world’s busiest maritime trade routes. The ship EVER GIVEN got stuck across the canal after deviating from its course early on 23rd March, resulting into a gridlock of more than 150 other ships in the area.

Update 26/03/2021 - 8 am CET

There is still no change yet, the EVER GIVEN is still stuck in the Suez Canal. We can see that more than 300,000 TEU full containers are affected by this. The first carriers are routing their vessels around Africa/the Cape. That takes about 7-8 days more time. The EVER GREET (20,000 TEU) on it's way to Rotterdam and the Hyundai Prestige (5023 TEU) on it's way to Yantian have both bypassed the Red Sea and the Strait of Gribraltar respectively.

source: seaexplorer


Update 25/03/2021 - 3 pm CET

As you may already be aware, the Suez Canal passage is currently blocked to vessels in both directions. A container ship operated by Evergreen Marine was blown off course by high winds and a sandstorm early Tuesday March 23. Vessel operator Evergreen Marine Corp said in a statement the Ever Given had been overcome by strong winds as it entered the canal from the Red Sea but none of its containers had sunk.

The Suez Canal Authority has announced that navigation through the Suez Canal remains temporarily suspended. This is only until the floatation work of the large Panamanian container ship EVER GIVEN, which ran aground in the area of km 151 (canal marker), is completed. The floatation work includes towing and pushing the grounded vessel with the help of 8 large tugs, the largest of which is BARAKA 1 with a towing capacity of 160 tonnes.

The struggle to dislodge the ship is now falling to SMIT Salvage BV. Freeing the vessel “can take from days to weeks, depending on what we will be confronted with", Peter Berdowski, chief executive officer of SMIT’s parent company Boskalis Westminster, said in an interview on the Nieuwsuur TV program in the Netherlands on Wednesday “I can’t exclude that it can last weeks if the ship is really stuck and you need to get rid of cargo and you need to do dredging.”

The Suez Canal Authority also stated that yesterday 13 vessels from Port Said passed through the northern convoy. The vessels were then expected to continue their passage through the canal, according to forecasts of when the flotation work of the grounded vessel would be completed at that time. However, an alternative scenario had to be adopted which involved these vessels being anchored in the Bitter Lakes waiting area until navigation could be fully resumed once the vessels were afloat. Cargo ships already trapped behind the Ever Given will be reversed south back to Port Suez to free the channel. Authorities hope to do the same to the Ever Given when they can free it.

The incident continues to create long tailbacks on the waterway, preventing vessels from passing and causing delays. Meanwhile, at least 150 vessels have accumulated on both sides of the Asia-Europe trade channel - including ships near Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea and Port Suez on the Red Sea. 

Kuehne+Nagel is constantly monitoring the current situation and closely following the efforts of the affected vessel to further improve the accessibility of the southbound and northbound services. We are in regular contact with carriers and authorities.

We keep you thoroughly informed on this webpage.

The seaexplorer alert function shows you the vessels that need or needed to anchor in the course of the incident. In seaexplorer, we see more then 300,000 TEU full ctrs already effected by the disruption. It also shows which vessels decided to take the route via Cape of Good Hope – including the new ETA – so that you can plan accordingly.

Shipments that are to be loaded can also be routed via Kuehne+Nagel’s air services, rail services from China to Europe or with the combined sea+air service.