The problems resulting from the congestion in the Suez Canal caused by the grounded container ship Ever Given could last ‘weeks to months’, says the Rotterdam container terminal ECT. This is because once the ships can pass through the Suez Canal again, there will probably be many ships heading for Rotterdam at the same time. In the meantime, the container terminal is busy making preparations for the upcoming rush.
If the ship is refloated this week, not everything will be resolved, emphasises an ECT spokesperson. ‘Due to the resulting traffic jam of ships, there will be even more delays than there already are.’ The spokesman emphasises that ship transport has a very tight schedule and all imports and exports have to be caught up, so it will be a long time before everything is back to normal.
Earlier on Monday (29 March), Mohab Mamish, advisor to Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said he expected it to ‘take about a week to get all ships out of the Suez Canal corridor.’ At the last count, about 450 ships were stuck waiting or heading for the waterway, which accounts for about twelve per cent of world trade. Other ships have diverted and are taking the longer route around Africa.
Estimates of expected influx
According to ECT, it is currently difficult to estimate when the extra traffic will come, because it is not yet clear when the Suez Canal will be navigable again. The container terminal continuously makes estimates of the expected influx of ships and informs shipping companies, among others, about this. When too many ships arrive in Rotterdam at once, they will probably have to wait at sea, the spokesperson explains.
Picture by Suez Canal Authority.