29 March 2021

Dear customer

The Suez Canal is still blocked in both directions and efforts to refloat container ship ‘Ever Given’ continued over the weekend.

But according to several media “the ship is near to being refloated”. Efforts to fully free the vessel will depend on the morning tide, according to its owner. “That could mean that a higher tide expected over the next few hours could further improve the situation, allowing the ship to be fully freed and angled back on to its original course”, writes the Financial Times this morning. “But officials at Shoei Kisen [owner of the ship] remained cautious about describing the ship as completely freed.”

In the meantime several shipping lines have started to redirect some vessels via the Cape of Good Hope, while a few hundred vessels are stuck at either side of the blockage of the Suez Canal.

Over the last two days some container shipping lines have provided a bit more details on the impact:

  • Shipping line Maersk reported yesterday evening the following (including some MSC vessels, as they operate within the 2M Alliance): about 32 vessels are now at the Suez Canal.

Beside 15 vessels (sailing both East- and Westbound direction) were rerouted around the tip of South Africa, based on following rationale: “where we deemed the delay of sailing around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa equal to the current delay of sailing to Suez and queuing”.

  • Also carrier CMA CGM has already decided to divert two vessels around the Cape of Good Hope. About 21 of their vessels (or operated by partner within Ocean Alliance) are stuck around the Suez Canal.
  • We would like to remind you that shipping line MSC suspends all bookings as from Tuesday 30th of March for following destinations: Middle East & Red Sea, Far East, Australi, New Zealand, East Africa, Indian Ocean, India & Pakistan. They ask shippers “to put their loading program on hold for the time being” and don’t release empty containers anymore as from Tuesday. Therefore we have to cancel loadings of MSC containers scheduled as from Tue 30th of March onwards.

 Impact on global shipping

In the meantime it’s clear that the impact on container shipping will be huge. “Shipping companies rerouted vessels, refused to take on new customers and forecast long delays and longer-term port congestion around the world”, according to the WSJ. “Shipping executives said even if the vessel is removed imminently, a backlog of ships waiting to pass through the canal would linger for days, and diversions of cargo could wreak havoc on port traffic around the world for weeks.”

Maersk Line warns that “redirecting vessels also mean that these vessels will be missing somewhere else during that time, leading to further shortage in the market.”

More info about your shipments

We hope to receive good news about the refloating of the vessel in the next hours, as well as more detailed feedback from our contacts at the shipping lines to provide you with an overview of the impacted vessel names and status.

Shipex team

Please note that we do the utmost to find solutions for your company and try to minimize the impact, nevertheless Shipex – as freight forwarder – cannot absorb unexpected additional costs that may arise of any delays.