The grounded container vessel Ever Given has been refloated and the Suez Canal cleared for passage, but the ripple effects of the blockage could last for much longer.
Boskalis subsidiary SMIT Salvage was on hand to refloat the 400 m-long, 60 m-wide containership that was wedged between the vital route since March 23. The refloating efforts saw 30,000 cu m of sand dredged to free up the vessel and enable 11 harbour tugs and two seagoing tugs to manoeuvre the ship. Ever Green has since been towed to a location outside the channel for further inspection, freeing up the waterway for traffic.
Queues of more than 360 ships have built up in the time that the 20,000 teu containership has been stuck in the canal. So far, estimates about how long it will take for the backlog to clear vary.
High on the list of issues will be port congestion, with large spikes of vessels expected to descend upon gateways around the world. Further delays are anticipated as a result.
In a LinkedIn post, Lars Jensen, founder of SeaIntelligence Consulting, said: “What we should expect… is a series of ripple effects, which will last quite a while.”
He explained that, from a northern European perspective, at the moment vessel arrivals are still largely normal, as the ships that went through the Suez Canal before closure are only now arriving. “In a few days, vessel arrivals in North Europe will drop sharply as the impact of the closure ripples through. This will last a week,” he said. “After that, vessels will arrive in a large spike from the opening of the canal, creating significant pressure on ports. Then we will once more see a shortfall. The vessels that were due to arrive will be delayed as they are now going around Africa.”
Another spike is expected, he continued, as the delayed round-Africa vessels arrive at the same time as vessels that are now following their normal schedules.
According to Allianz, marine insurance claims from other vessels blocked in the area could range from business interruption or claims for compensation of cargo delays.
However, it is thought that the majority of the vessels will be unable to recover the sizeable expenses that have racked up, which would include additional fuel costs, days stuck on hire unable to move and extra supplies. Unlike the typical types of insurance – P&I or hull and machinery policies – loss of earnings or delay cover are not customary.