Timeline: How the Suez Canal blockage unfolded across supply chains

Date: Thursday, April 1st, 2021
Source: Supply Chain Dive

When the Ever Given ran aground in the Suez Canal, it captured international attention as crews worked to dislodge the vessel and resume global trade flows.

Days after the vessel was freed, hundreds of container ships were still waiting to get through the canal as a result of the backlog created by the blockage. Here is what unfolded over the six days in which the container ship was stuck, and its lingering effects on the supply chain.

March 23

The ship is stuck

The Ever Given becomes stuck in the Suez Canal.

"The vessel grounded due to strong winds as the vessel, with two canal pilots onboard, was transiting northbound through the canal en route to Rotterdam, Netherlands," BSM, the operator of the Ever Given, says in a statement the next day.

The world watches
With the ship stuck, people around the world take notice. Internet meme-makers turn out jokes, while supply chain professionals begin turning out their analyses of what the impacts of such a situation could be.

"Ship in front of us ran aground while going through the canal and is now stuck sideways," Julianne Cona, an engineer on the Maersk Denver, writes in an Instagram post (now private), showing her ship stuck behind the Ever Given, according to The Washington Post. "Looks like we might be here for a little bit."

Tugs tug with no luck

Seven tugs work over the course of the first day to free the Ever Given, but they are not able to do so on their own, according to Leth Agencies.

March 24

Days of dredging begin

Two dredgers and another, larger tugboat make their way to the Ever Given, according to Leth Agencies. Dredgers work to "clear sand and mud from around the vessel to free her," BSM said.

March 25 | Ships waiting: 156

Salvors arrive

A team from Smit Salvage arrives and begins helping to dislodge the ship, according to BSM.

Ships moved out of the canal

Ships that were passing through the canal when the Ever Given became stuck are escorted back to anchorage areas on either side of the canal, according to Leth Agencies.

Analysts ask about impact

H.B. Fuller CEO James Owens is asked on the company's earnings call if it will be impacted by the Suez blockage. Owens says H.B. Fuller is tracking shipments to assess what might be on the ships, but he says it has a team specifically designated to respond to this kind of disruption.

No movement allowed

The Suez Canal Authority announces "navigation through the Suez Canal is temporarily suspended" until the Ever Given is refloated.

March 26 | Ships waiting: 237

Carriers alert shippers

Ocean carriers begin to post alerts on their websites, advising shippers that their services are affected by the closure of the Suez.

[Read from the original source.]