Since Tuesday it is an incredible story that has shaken the world economy, the container ship “Ever Given” has blocked the Suez Canal, blocking with it one of the main trade routes in the world. An accident which would have been due to a sandstorm and to strong winds, which would have caused the loss of control of the boat. Thus, 10% of world trade – or 9,600 million dollars a day – was interrupted for almost a week by a single stranded cargo ship.
5 waiting ships carrying clothes, furniture and even 130,000 sheep.
Large companies from all over the world but especially from the European Union and the authorities of its countries, have been following the affair very closely for a few days, praying that everything returns to normality, yet no one was able to say until when the problem would continue. Indeed, the team that went to the rescue since Tuesday with eight tugs – tiny next to the container ship – failed to resolve the problem and had to strengthen Wednesday with two dredgers. The only real hope then was in the rising tide announcements for this week.
It is indeed through this channel that most of the oil from the Persian Gulf to Europe arrives, in particular with the passage of 1.74 million barrels which pass through it every day.
Ever Given saved: the big bosses hurt but relieved, and the European Union is the big loser
The container ship “turned”, declared Monday a spokeswoman for Shoei Kisen – a Japanese company that owns the ship – thus relieving all the affected markets. It is in this way that after 5 days of worries and work, a ray of hope touches all the large companies, especially European ones. According to the Suez Canal Authority: “ The towing maneuvers to refloat the container ship Ever Given began with the aid of ten giant tugs “
Indeed, this Monday was a new turning point in the situation of the Suez Canal, a turning point filled with uncertainties about the situation of the stranded liner. In fact, in the early hours of the morning a new announcement appeared, the ship partially refloated, a relief of short duration, a few hours later we learned that the container ship would be of new returned. The issue for large companies comes a few minutes later, the photos of the ship in motion are turning everywhere on social networks, marking the end of the problem or almost … An outcome in the image of the case, between hesitations incompetence and ridiculous.
In reality the story does not end there, in fact, the distressed markets are already announcing sudden increases in the price of oil, an increase in delivery time as well as an increase in freight costs. Not to mention the fuel consumption for the ships which had to take the alternative Cape Town route, implying an additional environmental cost.
Once Ever Given is underway, it will take about three and a half days for all the waiting ships to cross the canal, according to Osama Rabie of the Canal Authority.
Thus, the authorities are already announcing that they will increase the densification of convoys to try to make up for lost time. A traffic that has already been increased since the end of the first confinement in Europe. A decision not without risk because this densification will surely cause maritime congestion. In this whole affair, it is especially the suppliers of the manufacturing industry and the automobile but also of all the goods ranging from oil and gas or the textile industry which will be the big losers. While shipping has already been affected by covid-related closures, tensions are rising. Rising demand from the United States has depleted container stocks at Chinese ports, and the cost of shipping a container from Asia has more than doubled since November, according to the New York Times.
A situation more than absurd which caused the hilarity and the astonishment of thousands of Internet users who gave themselves to their heart’s content through a multitude of jokes and memes on social networks.
The little peanut in the windpipe of globalization pic.twitter.com/UcN0p2YjJv
– Vinvix Gévéor? (@animalnum) March 25, 2021
In reality it is a ridiculous situation which is in fact the mirror of the own absurdity of the own capitalist system. This story highlights the way production runs today. A production where capitalism has decentralized production from the United States and Europe during the last fifty years, forming everything, looking above all for cheap labor in the countries of South East Asia. But this incident thus reflects its fragility, where a simple minor incident caused a catastrophe in world trade. A system that can only fail as shown by this new crisis. .