Number Crunch

A Ship Trapped in the Suez Canal Is Causing Global Trade Chaos

Forget ‘Titanic’. ‘Ever Given’ is the maritime blockbuster we need

$400 million per hour: That’s the economic cost caused by a quarter-mile-long container ship that has been stuck in the Suez Canal since Wednesday, blocking passage for other ships on one of the world’s busiest trade routes, based on a rough estimate by Lloyd’s List, as reported by Bloomberg.

Rescue efforts have been ongoing, with the cargo ship Ever Given having been partially refloated but still stuck in the middle of the Suez Canal. The canal accounts for roughly 12% of the world’s seaborne trade, which should give you an idea of how much global trade is at a standstill right now because of one ship in an unfortunate position. If Ever Given remains stuck for more than a week, other ships may have to reroute around the Suez Canal, taking a journey of 10 days or longer. The incident caused a brief 6% spike in the price of crude oil, as the Suez is heavily trafficked by container ships carrying oil from the Middle East to Europe. (Prices have since fallen.)

The Financial Times’ “part-time boat correspondent” offered a fascinating deep dive into why this incident was not that unlikely, considering Ever Given’s massive size relative to the Suez Canal’s shallow depth. In short, he explains, “We keep making bigger ships, but we’re still learning how big ships work.”

When cruise lines return, be sure to take one that avoids the Suez.

For more Number Crunch, follow Marker Editors.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store