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Maritime traffic jam outside Suez Canal, trades paused

Alok Parekh

Suez Canal blocked due to maritime traffic jam.

Outside the Suez Canal, a major maritime traffic jam has occurred after a massive cargo ship, Ever Given, became stuck in the vital waterway. More than 200 cargo ships are currently stranded outside the Suez Canal, disrupting trade worth billions of dollars. Shoei Kisen, the Ever Given's owner, is now hoping to refloat the ship later on Saturday, March 27, by taking advantage of tidal movements.

Ten tugboats have been mobilized, and staff is dredging the banks and seafloor around the vessel's bow to try to get it afloat again as the high tide begins to go out, according to the firm, which apologized for blocking maritime traffic jam. At the port side of the cargo ship's bow, a team from Boskalis, a Dutch salvage company, was working with the canal authority, using tugboats and a specialized suction dredger. The site has been closed to the media by Egyptian authorities.
According to Lt Gen Osama Rabei, head of the Suez Canal Authority, "it's a complicated technical activity" that will take several attempts to free the vessel. Attempts to free it earlier Friday failed, according to Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, the Ever Given's technical boss.

The Suez Canal Authority has indicated that foreign assistance is welcome. The United States has offered to assist Egypt in reopening the canal, according to the White House. US President Joe Biden told reporters, "We have equipment and capability that most countries don't have, and we're seeing what we can do and what help we can be."

The Centre has formulated a four-point strategy to deal with the situation created by the Suez Canal blockade, which includes recommending ships to reroute through the Cape of Good Hope. The Logistics Division of the Department of Commerce, Government of India, convened a meeting on Friday to lay out the strategy. Prioritization of cargo, freight rates, port advisory, and ship re-routing are all part of it.


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