While the 1,300-foot-long container ship Ever Given is now floating freely, its weeklong blockage of the Suez Canal is highlighting once again the importance of having a clear line of sight into your supply chain and being prepared for possible supply chain interruptions.
The Suez Canal handles about 40 ships per day, according to Statista. The 1,300-foot-long Ever Given blocked the canal for a week, from March 23 to March 29. At the peak of the blockage, about 400 vessels were prevented from sailing through the canal. Some ships diverted to sail around the Cape of Good Hope, adding about two weeks to shipping schedules.
Media reports noted that shipping rates are already skyrocketing, with the cost to ship a 40-foot container from China to Europe climbing to about $8,000, four times the cost a year ago. In addition, the incident exacerbated worldwide shortages of both shipping carriers and oil tankers.
While the Suez Canal incident lasted only days, delays in shipping will have ripple effects across world economies for weeks. On top of significant recent events affecting supply chains, such as tariffs, trade disagreements with China, and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ever Given event highlights key questions manufacturers and distributors should consider and be prepared to answer.
With supply chain turmoil becoming more frequent in volume and more significant in impact, manufacturing and distribution companies have to become increasingly nimble and knowledgeable about their supply chains, not just to thrive and grow – but often, to survive.