Suez Canal ship backlog finally cleared after freeing of Ever Given

A container ship starts moving in the Suez Canal on March 30, 2021.
A container ship starts moving in the Suez Canal on March 30, 2021.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

CAIRO (BLOOMBERG) - The backlog of ships stranded by the grounding of the Ever Given has been cleared, with 422 vessels passing through the Suez Canal since the tanker was freed earlier last week after blocking the waterway.

The final 85 ships passed through the canal on Saturday (April 3), the Suez Canal Authority said on its Facebook page, calling the operation a new achievement in the authority's ability to manage emergencies.

The 400m-long Ever Given, owned by Japan's Shoei Kisen Kaisha, ran aground on March 23 in the southern part of the canal and was freed six days later.

The blockage of a conduit that handles about 12 per cent of world commerce snarled supply chains already under pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic and provided a stark reminder of the fragility of the global trade infrastructure.

The Egyptian government plans to seek around US$1 billion (S$1.3 billion) in compensation from the blockage.

The figure is a rough estimate of losses linked to transit fees, damage to the waterway during the dredging and salvage efforts, and the cost of equipment and labour, the Suez Canal Authority's chief executive Osama Rabie said late last Wednesday to television channel Sada Elbalad.

He did not specify from who the canal authority would seek compensation.