The Suez Canal blockade, since March 23, has led to at least 200 vessels getting stuck in the north and south side of the canal. The number is likely to increase to 350 vessels in the next few days.
The 224,000-tonne container ship 'Ever Given' got stranded on Tuesday, March 23, morning while it was on the way from China to Rotterdam after it could not be steered due to strong winds and dust storm. The entire crew of 25 Indians of the ship is safe, as assured by the company managing the container.
Egypt's Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea and provides the shortest and fastest sea link between Asia and Europe. The ministry of commerce and industry estimates that the losses due to the blockage could be worth hundreds of crores.
The route is used for Indian exports/imports worth US$ 200 billion to/from North America, South America and Europe including petroleum goods, organic chemicals, iron and steel, automobile, machinery, textiles and carpets, handicrafts, furniture, etc.
To Indian Government, meanwhile, has chalked out a four-point plan to deal with the situation. The plan was chalked out in a meeting conducted by the logistics division, department of commerce & Shipping and Waterways.
The four-point plan includes:
- Prioritisation of cargo-Identify cargo particularly perishable cargo for priority movement and work with the shipping lines.
- The government is working the channels to ensure that Freight Rates remain the same as per existing contracts.
- Ministry of ports, shipping and waterways assured to issue an advisory to these ports to ensure efficient handling during the forthcoming busy period.
- The government is exploring the option of re-routing of ships via the Cape of Good Hope. Such re-routing usually takes 15 additional days' time.
The blockage of the Suez Canal, through which about 12 per cent of global trade passes, has led to a rally of oil prices in international markets, as multiple oil tankers were impacted by the disruptions.