A journey from the Suez Canal in Egypt to Rotterdam, in the Netherlands — Europe’s largest port — typically takes about 11 days. Venturing south around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope adds at least 26 more days, according to Refinitiv, the financial data company.
The additional fuel charges for the journey generally run more than $30,000 a day, depending on the vessel, or more than $800,000 total for the longer trip. But the other option is sitting at the entrance of the canal and waiting for the mother of all floating traffic jams to dissipate, while incurring late fees for cargo — which can reach $30,000 a day.
Since Tuesday, the Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, has been stuck in the Suez Canal. The disruption now roiling the global shipping industry provides a reminder of why the Suez Canal was constructed in the first place. Only the Panama Canal looms as large in the transport of goods around the planet.
The shutdown of the canal is affecting as much as 15 percent of the world’s container shipping capacity, according to Moody’s Investor Service, leading to delays at ports around the globe.