Egypt said it may seek around $1 billion in compensation after a giant container vessel blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week and roiled shipping markets.
"Unfortunately, even when the canal re-opens for the huge backlog of ships waiting at anchorage this will lead to a surge in arrivals at certain ports and we may experience fresh congestion problems", Caroline Becquart, Senior Vice President with MSC said in a statement.
Osama Rabie, the CEO of the Suez Canal Authority, revealed the estimate in an interview with Egyptian TV station Sada El-Balad TV on Wednesday night, two days after crews freed the 400-meter-long Ever Given from the vital waterway. He also averred that the incident damaged the reputation of Egypt. "This country should get its due".
Officials said Tuesday the backlog of ships trying to pass through the Suez Canal could take about four days to work through, following almost a week in which the vital waterway was blocked by a massive container ship.
Egypt's Leth Agencies said yesterday that a total of 163 ships had transited the Suez Canal since its reopening and that 292 ships were now waiting.
Shoei Kisen Kaisha, the Japanese corporation that holds the Ever Given, said in a report last Thursday that it was operating with local officials in the North African country to fix the situation, backing extremely challenging. The ship remained stuck sidelong across the Suez Canal, one of the world's most active trade routes that give the minor maritime link for goods moving from Asia to Europe by joining the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. Approximately 12% of the world's trade quantity passes over the Suez Canal, including about 1.9 billion oil containers per day.
With the blockage, ships were forced to take an alternate route around the Cape of Good Hope, an additional 3,100 miles.
Interestingly, the Canal authorities did not specify who they will seek the compensation from. Rabie, meanwhile, added that he doubted if there will be a need for legal proceedings as Egypt has a "long relationship" with the ship owner.
"In 40 years, not a single case of dispute has happened between SCA and Evergreen", he said in an interview. "We all respect all the rules of the SCA", he said.