Global trade was disrupted after one of the world’s largest container ships became wedged across the Canal in March
The Ever Given had offloaded its cargo in Europe before high winds ran it aground, blocking hundreds of ships from passing through the Suez Canal- the “shortest and fastest navigational route linking the east with the west.”, as hailed by the SCA (the Suez Canal Authority).
It took a major salvage operation that led to the death of one person before the ship was refloated, nearly a week later. After being released, the Ever Given spent three months impounded near the canal city of Ismalia whilst the owners of the ship agreed a compensation deal with Egypt to cover the cost of the salvage operation, damages to the canal’s banks and other losses. Whist the details of the deal have not been disclosed, Egypt eventually settled on a £397m demand.
Around 4,000 luxury cars submerged at the bottom of the Atlantic following a fire on board a cargo ship
On February 16th, the ship, named Felicity Ace, was en route to Rhode Island USA when a fire broke out onboard, leaving 22 crew members and the thousands of luxury cars in danger. The navy, four merchant ships sailing in the area and the Portugal Air Force completed the evacuation of the cargo ship before it sunk off the Portuguese Azores archipelago. All crew members were taken safely to a hotel nearby.
As for the cars, Volkswagen said the damage was covered by insurance, Bentley confirmed that 189 of its cars were on board and Porche’s 1,100 models on the ship were said to be reordered shortly after the incident, according to customers. As Felicity Ace lies at a depth of 3,500 metres, there are no reports of an oil leak yet, but it’s feared that the fuel tanks could be damaged.
Ever Ace: The world’s largest cargo ship unloading in UK port
On the 19th June, Ever Ace, the 1,300ft vessel that holds the record for most containers loaded on to a single ship, successfully arrived at the Port of Felixstowe in Suffolk- the biggest and busiest container port in Britain. Ever Ace is operated by Taiwanese shipping company Evergreen Marine Corporation, the company that is also responsible for one of the biggest traffic jams in shipping history. Their ship, the Ever Given, blocked the Suez Canal, not only disrupting global shipping but also costing the company a £397m in a compensation deal to Egypt.
The Ever Ace was made in 2021 and, on its maiden voyage, docked in Felixstowe of September that year. It is capable of holding 23,992 standard containers and left Felixstowe on Wednesday 22nd June after loading 2,300 containers.
The economic cost of a zero-covid policy in China
Whilst most companies have adopted new strategies to better prepare them for any disruptions when using Chinese factories, some are still skeptical due to signs that China’s zero-covid policy is enacting longer term costs, forcing them to rethink their positions in the Chinese market.
Because of these longer term costs, its may be China’s economy and the global consumers it supplies who will feel the cost of their zero-covid policy.
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Despite covid-19 restrictions easing in the new year, there was covid lockdown deja vu felt in China due to their zero covid policy forcing them into a six day lockdown in march. When buying online, it is highly likely that the product was manufactured in the City of Shenzhen- home to around 50% of China’s online retail exporters. About a third of the world’s entire manufacturing capacity is based in China so, when Shenzhen went into lockdown and their factories had to suspend production, the disruptions were felt globally as shockwaves were sent through the world’s businesses.
An example of the effect of this lockdown, Adam Compain, senior Vice President of project44 (a project which monitors how freight is moving across the world) described “a 28.5% increases in the number of vessels waiting outside of the port of Yantian”, the same port that was shutdown due to covid last year, causing major delivery delays over Christmas.