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Suez Canal Blockage Might Disrupt India’s Supply Chain | UPSC IAS IPS IFS

In this article, we will discuss about recent Suez Canal Blockage which happened due to a Giant Container Ship known as Ever Given. This Ship is around 400 m long and was coming from China. It is destined for a city in Netherland known as Rotterdam. It was passing northwards through the Canal on its way to Mediterranean.

About the Container Ship

Ever Given is a 200,000 Tonne transport ship built by a Taiwanese Company Evergreen Marine in 2018. It is a 400 metre long and 59 metre wide ship which is roughly equal to length of four football pitches. It belongs to the Golden Class Ship and is one of the largest Container Ships in the World. It is currently registered in Panama and its technical management is the responsibility of a German ship management company Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM).

About Suez Canal

It is an artificially created Sea Waterway in Egypt which connects Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Isthmus of Suez. Construction of this Canal was started on 1859 and finished on 1869. It was officially opened on 17th November, 1869.

Suez Canal Blockage Might Disrupt India's Supply Chain | UPSC IAS IPS IFS

Suez Canal Blockage Might Disrupt India’s Supply Chain

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According to a data from Vortexa(Oil and Gas Analytics Platform), India being the highest importer of Crude Oil and products through Suez Canal will have a larger impact as compared to other countries like China, South Korea or Singapore. As of now, about two-thirds of India’s crude comes from the Gulf region. The other impact which India could be see is on import and export of ethane with the US. Recently in a bid to decrease the dependence on Middle East for Oil import, India increased the crude import from Latin America which is also likely to get affected. More on PIB.

How Ship Got Stuck in Suez Canal

Although it is not fully clear how Ship got stuck on the shore but as per the experts sudden and strong gusty wind deviated the hull of the Ship from its desired path and then it accidentally hit the bottom and ran into the ground. As per the Egyptian forecasters, high wind and sandstorm with wind speed as much as 31 mph hit the area on Tuesday resulting into this mishap. The Ship’s bow crammed into the Eastern Bank and Stern into the opposite side of the bank.

Why Suez Canal is Important for Global Trade

As per the latest report, about 12% of the Global trade goes through this 193 km long Canal as this Canal provides the shortest sea route between Asia and Europe. Any obstruction in Canal could directly impact the Global Market Supply Chain. There is another route through Cape of Good Hope on the Southern Tip of Africa but that will increase the voyage time period by two more weeks.

Consequence of Suez Canal Block

  • More than 300 Ships are stuck on either side of the Blockage.
  • Lots of Ship turned towards the Cape of Good Hope which will delay the delivery of goods by atleast two weeks.
  • Due to coming high tide, matter is going to worse and then it might take weeks to refloat the Ship.

What is Being Done Now

  • The Rescue and Tug Units of Suez Canal Authority(SCA) are working to refloat the Container Ship.
  • SCA also reopened an older section of the Canal to ease the Sea Lane traffic caused by this mishap.
  • Authorities also have suggested to remove few containers to lighten the Ship Load but this will require the services of Crane which can reach as high as 60 metre. This operation can further delay the effort.
  • Countries like US are planning to send an expert of dredger to help the Egyptian Authority freeing up the Container Ship.

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