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Current Impairment: Container Ship Blocks Suez Canal

Suez canal, Egypt

In the night from March 23 to 24, an unexpected incident occurred on the Suez Canal: The grounded container ship MV Ever Given, with a length of no less than 400 meters, blocked the whole waterway of the canal. There is no chance of passing through here at the moment. 

Early reports mentioned technical problems as a possible reason for the accident. However, the ship operators quickly denied that a power loss caused the impairments. The reason for the container ship’s grounding was primarily an extremely strong gust of wind. First Egyptian meteorologist reporting confirmed the statement. The area around the Suez Canal was hit by strong winds and a sandstorm on Tuesday, with gusts of up to 50 kilometers per hour.

Regardless of what ultimately brought the megaship to a standstill, the result remains the same: the most important trade lane between Asia and Europe is blocked.

With a weight of 220,000 tons and a length of 400 meters, the MV Ever Given is considered a so-called mega-ship. It is barely surprising that the current salvage work by smaller tugboats and dredgers is reminiscent of a “David versus Goliath” battle. But shipping experts are positive and expect the clearing of the blockage within the next few days, perhaps even hours.


What Consequences could the Congestion have for Global Trade?

The Suez Canal typically handles dozens of huge container ships per day. Any prolonged stoppage could therefore mean serious delays throughout the global supply chains. Once the MV Ever Given is salvaged, it will sail to the next port, which could severely affect the overall container handling. So what this is likely to “set in motion” as well is the following course of events: 


  • Transit Times: Possible delays in transit times by a few days, due to the blockade and/or possible rerouting of vessels on the route around South Africa. 
  • Equipment and Capacities: Decreasing availabilities due to the delayed handling of containers may also affect the export of goods.
  • Rate development: Monetary effects might be caused by the reduced capacities.


So far, the situation remains unchanged and the planned arrival of the Taiwanese ship from April 1, 2021 in Rotterdam, will be difficult to realize. In any case, we will keep you up to date on the current developments.


Measures we at Forto take for you  

If you don’t want to wait passively for the next updates, we’ll tell you what you can already do in the meantime:


  1. Be informed: With the help of our digital platform, you can see at a glance which of your shipments have been affected or are still at risk of being affected in case the congestion continues.
  2. Stay flexible: In the event of pending shipments, we offer our customers possible alternatives in a timely manner, for the minimum possible delay in transit time.
  3. Make preparations: We have increased our air freight capacity and can offer individual solutions that meet your needs – from individual pallets to entire charters – on short notice. Simply get in touch with us.


With Forto, you have a strong partner at your side who will take care of your shipments. We will inform you immediately if one of your shipments is affected and discuss further options with you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via e-mail


Photo Credits: Julianne Cona, Instagram