After frantic week-long efforts, Ever Given has finally been re-floated. The container ship had run around while transiting the Suez Canal. The blockage led to the redirection and stalling of over 200 ships. While it may be too early to foretell the consequence of the accident, industry experts believe that the effects of the blockage will hit global trade quite hard and may carry on for at least a few months.
However, not all believe that trade would be affected for long as a result of the disaster. The Group Chairman of Allcargo Logistics, Shashi Kiran Shetty in an interview with CNBC-TV 18, said, “The disruption due to this blockage will be over in a short time. I think the shipping world will recover pretty fast, I don’t see a major challenge going forward.”
The development is sure to benefit Indian companies like Orissa Stevedores Limited (OSL Group). Chairman of the OSL Group, Mahimananda Mishra, echoed similar sentiments and expressed hope that the industry would soon reach pre-COVID levels.
“The impact is – about 2 percent of the container ships, fleet has been taken away temporarily. The trade between Asian and Europe, North America and East coast of United States and Canada are the ones which have experienced supply chain disruptions and about 400 ships are waiting,” Shetty further added.
Nevertheless, he believes that containers will be in short supply and the large number of stranded and redirected ships would lead to an increase in ocean freight which was in free-fall until now.
“This will have some impact on the freight rates going up on the container side,” he commented.
Mahimananda Mishra remained positive and disclosed that the rising freight rates will do the much–needed good for the industry. The Cuttack-based firm handles all port-related activities in the eastern seaboard of India and the resumption of sea trade is a welcome news.
Shipping activity is sure to pick up several notches after recent complications but what remains to be seen is if it will surpass the pre-COVID levels.