Bikky Khosla | 30 Mar, 2021
The container ship that blocked the Suez Canal has been
freed and is now on the move. Last week, this massive 400-meter container ship, 'Even
Given', weighing 200,000 metric tons, stuck
in the canal, leading to a sudden
halt in regional shipping supplies. The Suez Canal holds significant importance
in world trade as 12 percent of global shipments go via it, and now the end of
the crisis is, no doubt, welcome news.
India is a major
importer of crude oil – approximately 500,000 barrels per day -- via the Suez
Canal, and the six-day long blockade raised concern of catapulting the crude
prices, with its eventual impact on retail price as well. The longer the
closure would have been, the more disruptive the impact was likely to be.
Experts even warned that a blockade beyond the coming spring tide would have begun
affecting operations on a broader scale.
Our exporters were worried as well. The Covid-19
pandemic has already hit the global trade hard, and now the Suez logjam was not
at all welcome. Shipments would have got delayed, and exporters, particularly
those who work on the payment against delivery model, would have faced working
capital crunch. But fortunately, the ship has been successfully
and it is widely expected that shipping navigation will not take much time to
gear up again.
It was encouraging to see that while efforts
were underway to bring an end to the crisis, the Centre, aware of the gravity
of the issue, came up with a four-point plan -- in discussion with the
stakeholders -- to deal with the situation. The plan outlined, among other
measures, identifying cargo for priority movement and exploring the option of
re-routing of ships via the Cape of Good Hope. This level of proactiveness is
invite your opinions.