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The Suez Canal blockage is a timely reminder of how important it is to protect your cargo from the catastrophic moisture damage caused by delays

The grounding of Evergreen’s MV Ever Given in the Suez Canal on Tuesday March 23rd has had knock-on effects right down the supply chain. Within just 24 hours, dozens of vessels were backed up as the vast ship blocked both north and southbound channels of the canal. Ever Given is among the very largest container ships in the world. At400-metres (1,300-foot) long and 59 meters (194 feet) wide, the vessel is too large to navigate even the enlarged Panama Canal.

With over 50 ships passing along it every day, the Suez Canal is one of the world’s most important shipping routes, carrying at least 10% of global maritime trade. The 220,000 ton vessel got stuck diagonally across the canal after it went off beam when hit by 40 knot winds and a sandstorm which compromised the ships steering and the crew’s ability to see where they were going. Rescue tugs’ attempts to get the ship back on course were hampered by its sheer size and the gridlock continued to escalate.

The blockage had an almost immediate impact on oil prices which spiked on news of the event, which affected over 13 million barrels. Avoiding the jam would add 15 days to ships’ journey times so hundreds of ships formed the queues at either end of the canal. 

The cargo damage risk and resulting costs are potentially huge

Over half of the ships using the canal are container ships and, while shippers with cargo on the Ever Given itself may be worrying about physical damage resulting from the impact, there is another aspect to the risk facing all the containers caught up in the delays. Temperatures in the desert around the canal can rise and fall dramatically. Perfect conditions for container rain which can cause severe water damage to both packaging and contents. The longer ships are sitting here, the higher the risk. And with 10% of cargo damage due to moisture, the resulting cost to businesses globally from this single delay is potentially huge. It’s a clear reminder of the importance of having the correct moisture control solutions inside containers, wherever they are going.

Ships opting to take the alternative route, would have to pass round the southern tip of Africa – an area famous for rogue waves and extreme weather conditions. And, of course, your cargo will be at sea for at least two weeks longer. Again, the lesson is that cargo protection and securing should be configured to prepare for any eventuality and recent events in Suez are proof that, if something can go wrong, it will.

Cordstrap: protecting the world’s cargo across all modalities and routes

Cordstrap works closely with businesses across the globe to design and engineer innovative and dependable solutions that protect cargo across all modalities and routes.

Our specialists take a very forensic approach to moisture risks. By monitoring thousands of smart containers traveling millions of miles we have data that allows us to confidently assess the likely temperature and humidity risks to shipments anywhere in the world. With this intelligence we are able to work with customers to ensure they have the correct Moisture Control product for their specific cargo and route. The Cordstrap range of Moisture Control products delivers the highest absorption rates currently on the market.

We take a similarly scientific approach to protecting your cargo from movement damage and have engineered a huge range of cargo protection systems designed to secure any load type on any modality across the world.

Our solutions are all CTU Code compliant and have earned approval from the world’s leading regulators and insurers including: Germanischer Lloyd, the IMO, Mariterm AB, Eurosafe and the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

We are a truly global company with a support network that can work with key people right across your supply chain to ensure they know how to prepare for every eventuality. To ensure that your cargo is protected from all that the future holds, get in touch with your local cargo protection expert today.

For expert advice on cargo securing solutions contact us now

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