Suez Canal faces prolonged blockage, sparking fear for exporters

Egypt’s Suez Canal

Japanese owner says facing "extreme difficulty" refloating ship stuck in Suez Canal, with at least 150 vessels, waiting to pass after the skyscraper-sized cargo vessel was wedged across the vital waterway, imperilling global shipping.

Roughly 30 per cent of the world's shipping container volume transits through the 193 km (120 mile) Suez Canal daily, and about 12 per cent of total global trade of all goods.

Comic artist Chaz Hutton posted his original artwork about the traffic jam, relating it to procrastination.

According to a financial estimate issued by a prominent banking institution, the losses incurred by Egypt after the Suez Canal was blocked by the Ever Given cargo ship are estimated at about $400 million per hour.

Boats "The Tenth of Ramadan", "Long Live Egypt 1", and "Long Live Egypt 2" have joined efforts to pull the sand around the grounded ship, along with eight other tug boats that have been working since the ship grounded.

Oil prices had jumped by nearly six percent on Wednesday in response to the Suez Canal accident, before dropping again on Thursday.

With ships waiting in both the Mediterranean and Red Sea and in the canal, the SCA announced it was "temporarily suspending navigation" along the waterway.

Attempts are being made to refloat the vessel, but one of the companies involved in the efforts said it may take weeks.

The owner of the oddly named Ever Given - the owner happens to be a company called Evergreen - told the Financial Times the ship is "suspected to have met with a sudden gust of strong wind, which caused the ship's body to veer from its course and accidentally run aground".

Peter Berdowski, CEO of Dutch company Boskalis, which is trying to free the ship, said it was too early to say how long the job might take.

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The Cow Guy at AG Optimus Scott Shellady and former investment banker Carol Roth on energy, inflation and the ship blocking the Suez Canal.

"We've never seen anything like it before", said Ranjith Raja, Middle East oil and shipping researcher at financial data firm Refinitiv.

Another official with knowledge of the operation said that was likely to take days.

The Egyptian authorities have announced that they are considering paying compensation to stalled ships due to the accident.

Historic sections of the canal were reopened Wednesday in a bid to ease the congestion.

About 16% of Germany's chemicals imports arrive by ship via the Suez canal and the chief economist for the association of German chemicals and pharmaceuticals producers VCI, Henrik Meincke, said they would be affected by every day of blockage.

Egypt earned $5.61 billion in revenues.

Last year's nightmarish toilet roll shortages could be on their way back because of a crisis in the shipping container world, a top industry figure fears.

Canal traffic has been disrupted several times in the past, notably during the Arab-Israeli wars of the second half of the 20th century.

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