It is still unclear when the container ship Ever Given will enter the port of Rotterdam from the Suez Canal. The enormous container ship is currently being examined for damage and seaworthiness, after it ran aground in the important Egyptian waterway and was recently pulled loose.
According to a spokesperson for the Port of Rotterdam Authority, it remains to be seen when the 400-metre-long, 224,000-tonne ship will arrive. The Ever Given has a cargo capacity for 20,000 sea containers and was on its way from Asia to Rotterdam when it ran aground and completely blocked the passage of the Suez Canal. The blockage caused a large traffic jam of waiting ships. It is expected to take at least three to four days before this fleet is cleared at the Suez Canal.
The sailing time between the Suez Canal and Rotterdam can vary from over a week to more than two weeks, depending on, among other things, the speed of the ship. At the ECT container terminal in Rotterdam, preparations are being made for the influx of ships from the Suez Canal. According to an ECT spokesperson, the handling of a large container ship like the Ever Given can take a few days.
Also read: ECT: Suez Canal blockage could cause problems for months to come
Damages bow thruster tunnel
The Ever Given is still at anchor on the Great Bitter Lake. Contrary to what Evergreen reported after the beaching, the front of the ship is damaged, but probably not to the extent that it cannot sail under its own power. Water entered the ship through a bow thruster’s tunnel. The tunnel has now been sealed from the inside.
Insiders assume that the Suez Canal Authority has detained the ship and that it will not be allowed to leave until the shipping company has provided sufficient bank guarantees. This is usual practice in this kind of situation. It assures the port or waterway authority that all costs incurred will be reimbursed and that future claims can be successfully recovered from the shipowner.
Also read: Container ship Ever Given refloated, shipping traffic to resume
FNV threatens with strikes in port of Rotterdam
Incidentally, the Dutch trade union FNV is threatening strikes in the port of Rotterdam when the fleet arrives from the Suez Canal. According to Niek Stam, the FNV’s executive director, lashers, who tie up and unload containers, may lay down their work to enforce the demands for a better collective labour agreement.
Stam says they want better arrangements for heavy work and that the pension agreement has a negative impact on the dockers who work in shifts. He believes the government should allow room for changes to certain legislation in the case of early retirement. But there has been no response from the Dutch government so actions are possible to increase the pressure, says Stam.
Picture: Ever Given (by NOAA’s National Ocean Service).