Photo courtesy Bloomberg Markets and Finance/via YouTube
In recent weeks we’ve written about the supply chain crises of container ships backed up outside West Coast ports, waiting to be unloaded, and the consequent logistics challenges of getting products to the U.S. The situation is causing massive delays for goods from furniture to electronics to Pelotons.
As you certainly have noticed if you’ve looked at cable TV or internet news in the last few days, things just got a whole lot worse.
A giant container ship—the Ever Given, at 1,300 feet among the largest cargo ships in the world, and nearly as long as the Empire State Building is tall—is stuck in the Suez Canal, Egypt’s 120-mile waterway connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. It is one of the busiest trade routes in the world.
You are probably curious what this means for disposable glove distribution, supply, and prices. The true impact will not be known for a few weeks, but there will likely be delays in existing shipments to the U.S. East Coast from Southeast Asia. Some future shipments may need to be rerouted.
Of course, all of this depends on how well efforts to free the behemoth go.
You’re gonna need a bigger tugboat
Eight large tugboats were attempting to push and drag the ship from its unintended berth, the Suez Canal Authority said in a statement on Thursday. Considering that the ship weighs around 200,000 metric tons, dislodging it is proving an enormous challenge.
Lloyd’s List, which has been covering shipping news since the 1700s, has calculated that the blockage is costing $400 million an hour.
As of March 25, a total of 206 large container ships, including tankers carrying oil and gas, and bulk vessels hauling grain, have backed up at either end of the canal.
That is one heck of a detour
The ships that are stuck will likely be re-rerouted around the Horn of Africa—a development that might excite Vasco da Gama, but does nothing for modern corporations with timetables to keep. Such a trip would add a week or two of delays and cost millions.