Lessons from the Suez Canal crisis


The accident led to the ship suffocating off the Suez Canal, a man-made strait that sees more than one-tenth of all global shipments pass each year, for about a week. While he is Never made ending memes and fun On social media, the cost of blocking An estimated $ 9.6 billion in daily delays It was a reminder of how far the world economy is still at sea – roughly 70 percent of total international trade.

It could also take another week to clear the traffic congestion of hundreds of other ships and carriers waiting to make the same lane. The The supply chain effects of these disruptions You might play over the next several months. Today WorldView looks at other lessons from the recent Suez crisis.

It is a global story. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi hailed the release of the ship as a national success for his countrymen. “Picture the effort as a national victory that reassured the world that Egypt can be trusted to oversee 13 percent of the total world trade that passes through the important waterway.” Notice my colleagues.

Until now Dramatic character From the entire ring it represents a real float – or in this case, perhaps, a “re-float” – the United Nations. Consider the mega-container ship itself: MV Ever Given was owned by a company in Japan, operated by a container shipping company based in Taiwan, operated by a German company and registered in Panama. Its crew of 25 They were Indian citizens.

The ship’s voyage saw it transport goods from Asia to Europe, specifically the Dutch port of Rotterdam. It ran aground in a sandstorm in the Middle East and was rescued by a multinational coalition that includes a Dutch rescue company and local Egyptian tugboat operators.

Her ordeal highlighted the fragility of the global economy. A century and a half ago, the opening of the Suez Canal ushered in an era of global express shipping that only accelerated in the decades that followed. Over the past half century, meanwhile, has been capacity for cargo ships It multiplied by about 1500 percent, Expanding the range of consumer goods available and reducing prices around the world, as well Peter Goodman of The New York Times Notice.

But these increases in volume are now creating bottlenecks in arteries as congested as the Suez Canal. “Ships today are bigger than they were in the past,” a pilot with the Suez Canal Authority Tell my colleagues, Saying the task of sailing ships like Ever Given through the canal became more taxing. “This is something new. We haven’t seen this before.”

Weaknesses are also shown in an interconnected world, where a single product can be produced and delivered through supply chains connecting multiple continents. “As for global trade, which is already suffering from high freight rates, equipment shortages and the space crisis on ships in the wake of the disruptions caused by the epidemic, the establishment of Evergiven could not have come at a worse time,” Journalist P Manoj wrote on Hinduism, Indian newspaper. “The disturbances caused by the closure of the canal could last for months, and the congestion of ports, lack of equipment and the lack of capacity for ships are expected to intensify.”

“Even shipments that do not pass through Suez will be affected, as factories wait for the arrival of essential components from elsewhere before they can manufacture products to send them.” Written by the former merchant sailor Salvatore Mercogliano For Outlook’s Post section. “Gas and oil prices will rise.”

The accident also revived talk of alternative routes – from the old, but much longer and more expensive journey around the southern tip of Africa to the promise of a northern corridor in the Arctic as melting ice on the world’s surface opens new paths. “The Suez Canal incident should make everyone think about diversifying strategic sea routes amid the increasing scope of shipping,” said Nikolai Korshunov, Russia’s envoy for international cooperation in the Arctic, She said Friday.

A world of gorge. The Suez Canal blockage provided a powerful reminder of just how important a handful of major sea lanes are to the entire global economy, as well as the strategic calculations of regional powers. A crisis there, the Panama Canal, the Strait of Malacca, or the Strait of Hormuz would upset global markets – depending on the context – leading to potential confrontations between rival navies.

Some analysts have seen the relative farce of the Evergiven meltdown as a glimpse of more complex crises to come. China relies on huge imports of oil and iron ore, and arguably the bulk of its foreign policy – including its ambitious Belt and Road initiative – is to secure distant trade networks.

“Unlike the United States, which is a net exporter of crude oil these days, China imports nearly three-quarters of the oil it consumes, as well as about four-fifths of the iron ore it uses to fuel its hectic pace of building infrastructure – not to mention most of the commodity exports it uses to obtain Hard currency to pay for these goods, ” David Fickling and Anjani Trivedi wrote from Bloomberg Opinion.

They added: “This makes it particularly vulnerable to a naval blockade. The geography of East Asia means that the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, as well as the semi-straits that pass through the navigable stretches of the South China Sea and those separating Taiwan from the Philippines, the Japanese islands of Okinawa and the Chinese mainland, are all extremely vulnerable. To prevention in case of conflict. “

In other words, choke points like the Suez Canal are bound to be sites of greater geopolitical rivalry and tension. More reason than before, James Stavridis argued, A retired US admiral and former Supreme Allied Commander in NATO, the world powers to define a collective system of their administration.

“In all of these locations, we must focus heavily on establishing international bodies that manage them with appreciation of their international character (the Suez and Panama canals have well-managed powers); conduct frequent drills and exercises to train in disasters such as those that have just occurred in the Suez Canal; have internationally funded resources. To ensure that it can remain open in crises (as was done on an ad hoc basis in Suez); and it has an international system with regulatory powers that checks them all frequently, ” he wrote.

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