How One Ship Halted Global Trade

The Ever Given, a massive container ship horizontally wedged in the Suez Canal, was freed on Monday, March 29th after it blocked all traffic through the crucial shipping channel for nearly a week.

In 2020, an average of more than 50 ships per day passed through the 120-mile long Egyptian waterway. That accounts for about 12% of all global trade. Experts warn that the impact of the shutdown will last for weeks and months to come.

How One Ship Halted Global Trade

Facts about the ship…

  • The Ever Given is one of the largest ships in existence. It measures 1,312 feet (400 meters) long and 193 feet (59 meters) wide, making it larger than the Empire State Building and twice the size of the St. Louis Arch.
  • The ship is owned by Shoei Kisen Kasha, a Japanese firm. It is operated by Evergreen Marine, a Taiwanese transportation company based in Panama.
  • Ever Given was built in 2018 and can hold a maximum of 20,000 20-foot shipping containers.
  • When it got stuck in the Suez Canal, the Ever Given was headed for Rotterdam in the Netherlands after setting out from Yantian, China.
  • Lloyd’s of London estimated that the cargo on the stuck Ever Given was worth upwards of $10 billion.
  • The crew of the Ever Given consisted of 25 sailors based in India.

Facts about the rescue…

  • Multifaceted efforts to get the Ever Given floating again began with backhoes on land digging out the bow of the ship.
  • Efforts also included the continual dredging under and to the north of the Ever Given to make the waterway more navigable. Large machines were each able to relocate 440,000 of material per hour during the five day/night mission.
  • Tug boats pulled and pushed the ship with slow success. The combination of these efforts led to its freedom after six days and seven hours.

Facts about the aftermath…

  • Shutdown of the Suez Canal cost the Egyptian government a loss of at least $15 million per day, while the cost to the global marketplace was about $20 billion in lost revenue and increased costs
  • More than 300 ships were waiting behind the Ever Given to navigate the canal including cargo of over 6,000 live animals
  • World oil prices rose 7% during the shutdown before dropping two days after its reopening
  • Supply of shipping containers briefly plummeted during the shutdown as shipping prices rose substantially on concerns the stoppage could go on for weeks

Why local sourcing is better…

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