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Suez Canal blockage suspends $9.6 billion in daily ship traffic

Suez Canal blockage suspends $9.6 billion in daily ship traffic

A container ship sails through the Suez Canal

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A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that the massive container vessel that became stuck in the Suez Canal earlier this week, blocking transit in both directions, has halted about $9.6 billion in daily marine traffic.


The figure is based on a Lloyd's List estimate that westbound traffic is worth approximately $5.1 billion per day and eastbound traffic is worth approximately $4.5 billion. However, the industry journal admits that these are “rough calculations.

” According to Bloomberg data, there are approximately 185 vessels waiting to transit the waterway, while Lloyd's estimates 165.

 

So far, tugs and diggers have failed to dislodge the Ever Given  the 400-meter-long vessel that became wedged in the canal on Tuesday  and work to refloat the ship has been halted in Egypt until Thursday morning, according to shipping agent Inchcape, citing the Suez Canal Authority.

 

AP Moller-Maersk A/S, Mediterranean Shipping Co., Ocean Network Express Pte and Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. own vessels in the canal, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence unit Panjiva, which cited VesselFinder data. About 50 ships per day use the waterway, and in 2019 containers accounted for around 53% of the transiting tonnage, it said

 

Approximately 13 million barrels of crude on 10 tankers could be affected by the disruption, according to Vortexa Senior Freight Analyst Arthur Richier. There are also nine vessels carrying clean petroleum products, along with biodiesel, sitting outside Suez, awaiting the resumption of northbound convoys, he said.

 

Just how long it takes to move the ship and clear the gridlock will dictate further impacts on markets. About 300 vessels globally are either stuck in the Suez Canal, waiting to transit the waterway or signaling it as their next destination, according to shipping data compiled by Bloomberg.

 

As of Wednesday, the queue included 40 bulk carriers hauling commodities ranging from crops to dry goods like cement as well as vessels carrying oil, fuel and chemicals, Bloomberg data show. There were also eight ships carrying livestock, more than 30 general cargo vessels and a water tanker.

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