Wednesday, March 24, 2021

What’s Backed Up at the Suez Canal? Live Animals, Oil and Food



(Bloomberg) -- The vessels lined up at the blocked Suez Canal, one of the world’s busiest waterways, are carrying everything from live animals to liquefied natural gas.

Crews on tugboats are struggling to remove Ever Given, a stranded container ship longer than the Eiffel Tower, and a look at the type of cargoes waiting to pass show the shipping delays have the potential to affect a range of industries.

The queue on Wednesday morning included 40 bulk carriers hauling commodities ranging from crops to dry goods like cement and 17 crude oil tankers, Bloomberg data show. There were also eight ships carrying livestock and a water tanker.

Countries rely on the Suez Canal, a chokepoint for international trade, to get speedy shipments of the commodities that power everyday life, like propane to heat houses and crops that feed animals and humans. A lengthy delay could further stretch supply chains that have already been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

While the impacts to various markets aren’t yet clear, considerable delays could be seen in the loading schedule at Qatargas in early April if the Suez Canal congestion persists, according to London-based research firm Kpler. Oil tankers in the queue are carrying about 8.8 million barrels of oil, according to Kpler.

chart: Suez Canal Blockage Impacts Multiple Industries© Bloomberg Suez Canal Blockage Impacts Multiple Industries

Several liquified natural gas cargoes from Qatar and the U.S. await passage, and an additional 15 LNG vessels are en route to the canal and could be affected if Ever Given is not removed quickly, according to Kpler.

Measuring more than 1,300 feet (400 meters), Ever Given was headed from China to Rotterdam when a sandstorm with high winds ran the ship aground Tuesday morning local time.

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