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Suez Canal blockage highlights major risk faced by shipping industry

Bloomberg3/25/2021 11:7 AM GMT+08  • 4 min read
Suez Canal blockage highlights major risk faced by shipping industry
If history is any guide, this halt won’t be the last.
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The 200,000-ton cargo ship currently lodged in the Suez Canal, bringing 13% of the world’s trade to a halt, may be the biggest vessel to get stuck in a major waterway. But if history is any guide, it won’t be the last.

Movement of ships between the Red Sea and Mediterranean has been halted since early Tuesday when the container ship Ever Given ran aground in the southern part of the Egyptian canal. Efforts to dislodge a vessel that’s longer than the Eiffel Tower have been unsuccessful, raising prospects that it may take days -- or longer -- to resolve.

The blockage highlights a major risk faced by the shipping industry as more and more ships transit maritime choke points including the Suez, Panama Canal, the Strait of Hormuz and Southeast Asia’s Malacca Strait. Such occurrences could become more common as ships get bigger and waterways get more congested.

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