The saga of the marooned steamship Ever Given, stocked with 20,000 containers, is impacting world trade.
This headline grabbing story provides yet another stressful moment as the World struggles to contain the Pandemic and return to some sense of normalcy.
There is the hard news serious side to this story. There is also the New York Times which floats a different tale about this stoppage in the Suez Canal.
Transportation is a subject near and dear professionally. I spent nearly 25 years in logistics management for international corporations. I am well aware that delays in getting cargo to its destination create major headaches for all involved. Transportation companies, suppliers and customers.
Excerpted from New York Times 3.27.2021
Initially it was the sheer oddity of a ship being stuck in the Suez Canal, single-handedly snarling global trade in a world already mired in a pandemic, that grabbed the online world’s attention. But it was the photo of a tiny digger working away at its mammoth task that sealed the Ever Given’s fate as the foundation for thousands of relatable memes.
Was the digger — which was trying its hardest to dislodge the vessel despite a titanic size difference — the perfect metaphor for thinking we can make any dent in our to-do lists, finally manage to stop procrastinating or get our thousands of unread emails down to zero?
Chaz Hutton -Today’s Comic: We are all, in our own little way, that ship.
Was it the visual representation of the scant relief that a walk outdoors can offer from the doom and gloom of a pandemic-gripped world?
And it wouldn’t be a fully fledged internet moment without a website built specifically to answer a simple question, which in this case was: Is that ship still stuck?
As of Saturday, the answer was still “Yes.”
Excerpted from Wall Street Journal 3.27.2021
SUEZ, Egypt—Egyptian authorities are still working to free the huge container ship blocking the Suez Canal but were wary of offering a firm timeline of when they might unstick the Ever Given, dashing hopes that it might be quickly moved to open up the pivotal trade route.
People involved in the operation had earlier signaled that the 1,300-foot vessel, operated by Taiwan-based Evergreen Group, could be moved as early as Saturday. A rescue team was able to restart the ship’s rudder and propeller the previous day after it veered into the eastern side of the canal during stormy conditions earlier this week, blocking the busy waterway to traffic. Some 320 vessels are waiting to traverse the 120-mile channel.
Authorities said they are cautiously optimistic about dislodging the vessel, but Osama Rabie, head of the Suez Canal Authority that manages the channel, said Saturday afternoon that he couldn’t provide a time frame for reopening the canal. Tugboats are continuing their attempts to pull the ship out from the thick sediment lining the side of the canal.
Those involved in the rescue effort said early Friday that the process could take two to three more days as dredgers worked to remove hundreds of thousands of cubic feet of sand around the ship’s bow. But the operation made significant progress late Friday after the salvagers turned on its engines before low tides forced them to suspend the effort.
While European and Asian companies bore the brunt of the impact of the shutdown, the closure also threatened knock-on delays and costs to U.S. importers and exporters. The White House has offered unspecified assistance to clear the waterway. Greece, the United Arab Emirates and China have also offered support, but the canal authority said it hadn’t accepted any help, though it may seek assistance if it has to remove a large number of containers from the Ever Given.
In normal circumstances a maximum of 106 ships can cross the waterway daily, according to the World Shipping Council, a shipping trade body.
Many shipowners had already decided to reroute from the canal south toward Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, adding weeks to the journey and fuel costs. At the start of the rescue effort, salvagers had worried the effort could take weeks as the ship would need to be lightened by taking off fuel and ballast water and possibly by removing its roughly 18,000 containers with helicopters.