The Suez Canal- Facts
The Suez Canal opened up for navigation in 1869. It is 193,3 km long and on average takes 12 to 16 hours to cross.
The construction of this artificial waterway started in 1858 and divides Africa from Asia. The Suez Canal Authority is a public and independent Egyptian authority established in 1956 that controls and manages de Canal.
The Suez Canal is a major waterway to the world trade, making the crossing from Europe to Asia at least a week shorter. Without Suez, the alternative is the route around Africa.
In 2019, 18.880 vessels crossed the channel, amassing around 13% of the global world trade.
Approximately one third of ships crossing the canal are container vessels. This vessels are difficult to navigate and particularly difficult to stop. For instance, did you know that the ship that got stuck on the Suez Canal on March 23 is 59m at its widest point and 16m long below the waterline, while the channel navigation width is around 200m and its maximum water depth of 24m? With increasingly bigger vessels crossing oceans, the crossing of the Suez canal can become harder and more susceptible to errors or nature.
→ To answer to this XXI century challenges, the Suez Canal Authority is currently developing a project called “New Suez Canal”. The project aims to develop and extra channel in some of the length of the already existing one and also to widening some areas of it. One of the expected outcomes of this project is that in 2023, 97 ships are able to cross the channel by day (today we have 43 per day). This construction work will also reflect on the vessels waiting time to enter de canal, that is expected to significantly decrease.
The Suez Canal- What happens to my cargo?
Even with the Suez Canal unblocked and the estimate of the Suez Canal Authority of 3 days for all traffic to return to normal, there is the possibility of ports congesting due to the high volume of cargo arriving at the same time, for this motive it is important to be careful and to be prepared, especially when it comes to perishable cargo.
It is still too early to declare who is responsible (or even if anyone is responsible) or to state that there will be losses. However, committed to the perishable cargo sector, Transitex Claims Department team is on alert to guide all customers in case any cargo related to the incident involving MV Ever Given is confirmed damaged.
Between the confirmation of the strong winds in the Suez Canal and the possibility of the ship’s captain being able to avoid or no this incident, each factor must be analysed, since the outcome of this evaluation will define any liability for damages.
At this moment, the most important is to be alert to possibly affected cargo (highlight to perishable goods) and in case of evidence of damages, Transitex Claims team will be ready to offer all the needed support.
For the preservation of rights, we advise opening the Claims process following the normal legal procedures. In case of damaged goods, interrupt the unstuff of the reefer container and do a photo report to be sent as evidence to firstname.lastname@example.org to begin the formal claim and to schedule the joint inspection of the cargo, which is crucial to confirm the origin and extent of the damages claimed.
Transitex Legal & Claims team is maintaining contact with P&I Club, responsible for managing the incident in the Suez Canal, as well as all Shipping lines involved, in order to guarantee all necessary support to our clients. As previously described, we still do not have all the information, but we must not ignore the Claims procedure and need to follow it until it is possible to know which conclusions the incident in the Suez Canal will bring.
Sources: World Economic Forum (weforum.org) and Suez Canal Authority.