Egypt: The Suez Canal blockage

Evergreen Ship Stuck in the Suez Canal, Arresting World Commerce

The Suez Canal can be seen from above.

The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt that connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Isthmus of Suez and dividing Africa and Asia. Around twelve percent of global trade passes through the Canal and it is a big part of Egypt’s economy. The Canal was built in 1859 and has greatly helped world trade and Egyptian trade. The impacts of this Canal are immense, before the Suez Canal was built in 1859, ships had to sail around the horn of Africa just to trade.

The introduction of this shortcut has saved billions of dollars throughout the years and has stood as a testament to human perseverance and the ability to overcome obstacles. Egypt has used this Route most of all as a connection to other countries that would have been much harder to reach otherwise. Throughout history countless companies and countries have used it as a trade route. One example of such companies is Evergreen.

The Egyptian flag that waves over the proud country.

However, passage was blocked by one of Evergreen’s ships.  The Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, spun in high winds while navigating a narrow section of the canal on March 23 and became wedged in the side of the canal. This was horrendous news for the world of shipment and trade. The Canal that is so essential to trade was now blocked by a single massive shipping container ship.

This greatly impacted the Egyptian economy for several days, and impacted their ability to trade with outside companies for an extended period of time. The other ships, knowing about the situation, started to sail around Africa to the south to try to reach their destinations, but the lower journey takes much more time and fuel.

Egypt was frantically searching for solutions to clear their trade route and for a few days, they were unsuccessful. On March 29’th, six full days later, the ship was freed with the assistance of an unusually high spring tide. Credit must be given to the engineers, excavators, and sailors that worked tirelessly for almost a week to dislodge the ship from the side of the Suez Canal using any means possible, such as making the Ever Given lighter and digging away the side of the famous canal.

The world did not recover immediately.  It took weeks for the global trade to get back to speed again due to backlog and an unpredicted que of ships wishing to go through the trade route that is the Suez Canal. However, the world, as well as Egypt, is recovering and trade is bustling again. The internet made the ship rather famous over only a few days with memes and news while it was stuck. Many people made jokes and comments about the disaster, but many people didn’t realize the significance of the blockage and the immense impact that one stuck ship could have on global trade. With this issue resolved, the world quickly forgets, but those who were impacted will never forget the six days where global trade was halted.