Barcelona, Spain (PortSEurope) March 29, 2021 – The Port of Barcelona has reported that it is operating normally despite the blockade of the Suez Canal due to the accident involving the Ever Given container ship, a 400-metre-long vessel with a capacity of 20,000 TEU on the Yantian (Xina)-Rotterdam route. Ships currently arriving in Barcelona crossed the Canal before the accident. Mercè Conesa, president of the
Port of Barcelona, hopes that “ship traffic through the Suez Canal can be resumed as soon as possible” in order to avoid having a major impact on both the port and the supply chain. If the Suez Canal remains impassable for more days, “there will be delays in the arrival of ships from Asia and the Middle East, which transit the Suez, from the end of next week. This will impact on supply chains, causing some products to take longer to reach markets. And it could even lead to the diversion of certain goods to air and rail modes”. The Port of Barcelona is “in direct and constant contact with shipping companies, terminals and our customers to exchange information and minimise the effects that this situation may cause, thus avoiding unnecessary tensions in the logistics and transport chains. All operators have demonstrated our commitment and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic and I am convinced that we will do so again now, cooperating at all times to find solutions to the problems that may arise,” says Mercè Conesa. At present, the Port of Barcelona receives between 35 and 40 container ship calls a week, of which 7 correspond to regular maritime container services linking Asia and the Mediterranean and transiting the Suez Canal. These are services to the Far East, the Persian Gulf, the Indian subcontinent and Pakistan and Southeast Asia. Ships on these routes take between 25 and 35 days, depending on the origin and ports of call. To these ships should be added oil tankers and gas tankers, which also often use the Suez Canal to transit from the Arabian Sea area to the Mediterranean. If the blockade in Egypt is maintained for a prolonged period of time, the alternative route for these traffics from Asia is the Cape of Good Hope, but this represents an additional 10 to 12 days’ sailing to the Port of Barcelona. If the shipping lines finally choose to send ships via this route, it would be the fourth time that this route has been used on a massive scale since the opening of the Canal. The previous times were during the Arab-Israeli war of 1956, to avoid Somali piracy attacks, and after the economic crisis of 2008, when some shipping lines transited through Good Hope to avoid paying the Suez Canal toll. PortSEurope Note: At 1500 Egypt Standard Time, the vessel was dislodged from its position and is now floating, after blocking the Suez Canal for almost a week. The vessel is now in Bitter Lakes, Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, said at a press conference yesterday. “We will not allow it to leave before making sure that it is safe to sail, and also after conducting an investigation to find out the cause of the accident, because this will entail compensation. The Canal from its part does not have any error”. Navigation on both directions of the Suez Canal resumed at 6 pm local time, he added. It could take three or three and a half days to end the congestion of ships. Source: Autoritat Portuària de Barcelona (APB – Port Authority of Barcelona) Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2021.