After Days of Suffering a Complete Blockage, The Suez Canal is No Longer Harboring a Ship Across its Waters

The Ever Given containership was dislodged this morning and is now once again floating in the right direction. Tug boats worked hours to get this ship freed from the canal, but it was with the help of high tide that the ship was finally freed. It is now being towed towards Egypt’s Great Bitter Lake, where it will undergo an inspection.

Ever Given dislodged from Suez Canal

“The outcome of that inspection will determine whether the ship can resume its scheduled service. Once the inspection is finalized, decisions will be made regarding arrangements for cargo currently on board,” charter company Evergreen stated. 

Effects Will Be Felt for Months to Come

Though the ship is now free, the effects from this misfortune are expected to last for months. Supply chain disruption and capacity cuts are expected even after the reopening of the canal.  

During the 6 days of this crisis, ships were rerouted around Africa to Europe and even through Panama to the US East Coast to avoid this blockage. The timing of this situation could not be worse due to extremely high shipping demands

“Companies should expect the Suez blockage to lead to a constriction in shipping capacity and equipment, and consequently, some deterioration in supply chain reliability issues over the coming months,” Caroline Becquart, senior vice president and head of Asia and the 2M Alliance service network at Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC), said on Saturday. 

“Unfortunately, even when the canal re-opens for the huge backlog of ships waiting at anchorage this will lead to a surge in arrivals at certain ports, and we may experience fresh congestion problems. We envision the second quarter of 2021 being more disrupted than the first three months, and perhaps even more challenging than it was at the end of last year.”

Backlogged Vessels Will Lead to Global Shipping Impact

Maersk stated that the goal will be to have shipping run continuously once the canal is reopened. However, the backlogged vessels from the past week alone will take anywhere from three to six days to pass through the canal. 

“It is evident that such an amount of capacity absorption will have a global impact and lead to severe capacity shortages. It will impact all trade lanes, as carriers will seek to cascade vessels to locations where they have the greatest need,” stated Sea-Intelligence.

Journeys Continue Along Suez Canal

Since being freed of its blockage, ships have now begun to pass through the Suez Canal. This is an incredibly busy route, with an average of 51.5 ships passing through the canal every day in 2020 according to the Suez Canal Authority. 


It’s stated that more than 350 vessels are waiting on both sides of the canal. The ship operators that decided to re-route their vessels around Cape of Good Hope have added over a week of sailing time and increased their fuel costs. 

Ships backlogged in Suez Canal

“As soon as the ship reaches the waiting place in the Bitter Lakes … the 43 ships waiting in the Bitter Lakes will begin to move south towards the Gulf of Suez,” a Suez Canal Official stated Monday. 

Ships will continue to journey through the canal, but containership reliability will likely fall in the coming weeks. 

How Sheltered International Can Help

When unpredictable situations occur, it is critical to choose the best possible company for your shipping needs. With Sheltered International we can ensure the quickest and most reliable options for your company when the current circumstances are not so reliable.

To learn more about SiShips, or to view a demo of our software, contact us today.