The anchored vessels are idling in the Red Sea while workers try to free the Ever Given. Experts warn that the stricken ship could clog up the critical route for weeks, meaning hikes in delivery costs around the globe. The Ever Given is the length of four football pitches and one of the world’s biggest container vessels. It is blocking goods worth an estimated £7billion per day from passing through the canal. By last night 200 ships were waiting it out.
Boris Johnson’s spokesman yesterday said that no company has approached the Government with concerns. However, retail analysts warned that a prolonged blockage of the Suez in Egypt could drive up the price of goods.
Among them may be car makers hit by a shortage of computer chips. And with other shipping costs already climbing, pressure on Covid-scarred businesses could ultimately be passed to consumers.
Diggers and dredgers are continuing to burrow 52ft down into the sand in a bid to re-float the vessel. Shoei Kisen, the Japanese owner of the Ever Given, yesterday predicted it will be freed today.
But a team of Dutch experts said the operation could take weeks.
If efforts to refloat the ship continue to fail, workers will have no choice but to bring in cranes to start offloading cargo in order to reduce the ship’s weight.
Currently, the only alternative to using the canal is to sail around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa, adding 14 days and 5,000 nautical miles to the journey. Yet it’s a move which is becoming increasingly attractive with each passing day.