Chicago, IL, March 24, 2021 — A growing number of ships are currently trapped in the Suez Canal after the 20,000 TEU container vessel Ever Given ran aground Tuesday at 7:40 am local time. The incident is going to worsen major shipment delays as traffic on one of the world’s business waterways grinds to a halt.
As of March 24, 3:50 pm CET, supply chain visibility company project44 was tracking 34 container vessels either immobilized in the canal, or en route to the zone, representing 379,200 TEUs of capacity. Every hour, more vessels, including container ships, oil tankers, RoRo vessels, and bulk carriers, are being backed up in the Mediterranean to the north and the Red Sea to the south.
project44’s visibility software is monitoring the incident, giving customers automatic alerts if their containers are affected by the grounding. Ocean Insights, a project44 company, has also been providing real-time vessel positions and incident alerts through its Container Track & Trace product.
The trapped ships are waiting for engineers to free the grounded vessel, which could take days to complete according to local authorities. With more than 50 ships passing through the canal on any given day, the congestion is growing worse by the hour.
There are reports that Suez Canal authorities may open an older channel to ease traffic.
“It’s another big blow to global trade in an already back-logged and battered supply chain year,” said Jett McCandless, CEO of project44. “The Suez Canal supports some 10% of global trade – and now the Evergreen vessel has single-handedly put a stop-block in both directions to that vital trade route between Asia and Europe. If they can’t dislodge it with tugs at high tide, they will have to start removing containers to lighten the load and refloat her.”
Attached is a spreadsheet detailing the number and size of ships, and their positions currently affected by the incident.