The mammoth ship is 400 meters long, 60 meters wide and holds up to 20,000 containers. On 23 March the MV Ever Given ran aground south of the strait and it could take “weeks” to remove it. 12% of world trade circulates in the area and the circumnavigation of Africa takes 12 days and 2,500 miles longer than the traditional route.
Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The March 23 accident in the Suez Canal (Egypt), when a huge cargo ship ran aground blocking maritime traffic in the strait, risks causing damage to the tune of almost 10 billion dollars a day in international trade.
The “MV Ever Given”, a mega-boat 400 meters long and almost 60 meters wide, ran aground during a sandstorm with strong winds in the south, turning sideways and almost completely obstructing navigation.
The ship transports goods from Asia to Europe, along one of the most used trade routes in the world, to the port of Rotterdam. Numerous boats have mobilized in the last 72 hours in an attempt to free the boat, operated by the Taiwanese company Evergreen Marine, but the efforts have so far been in vain. According to experts, “weeks” could pass in the disaster recovery operations of the massive vessel.
Built in 2018, the MV Ever Given is one of the largest cargo ships in the world and can carry up to 20,000 containers at a time. None of those contained on board at the time of the accident were lost, but the economic repercussions on international trade risk having devastating effects, while navigation remains “temporarily suspended”.
Meanwhile, the Bloomberg agency, using data published by Lloyd’s List, estimates the damage caused by the accident at the Suez Canal at 9.6 billion dollars a day, although experts clarify that these are “crude” calculations and the amount it could be even greater.
This vital trade route between east and west can boast a commercial volume of about 400 million dollars per hour: the figure combines the value of traffic directed to the Mediterranean (5.1 billion per day) and that destined for Asia (4.5 billion) or about 12% of global trade.
According to tracking data released by Lloyd’s List, there are currently more than 160 ships waiting at either end of the Suez Canal, including 41 bulk carriers and 24 oil tankers. Asked by the BBC Guy Platten, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping, reports that “we are hearing reports that shipping companies are starting to divert the route of boats, bound for the southern tip of Africa, the Cape of Good Hope, which, however, adds 2500 miles to the journey for a duration greater than 12 days”.
Some companies will consider using planes for higher value freight or trains for more common ones. Two major shipping companies, Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd, said they are looking into other options for avoiding the Suez Canal.
In the meantime, the Egyptian authority of the Suez Canal (Sca) has ensured the utmost commitment to the removal of the boat, with dredges and heavy equipment for earthmoving.