Ship block Suez Canal freed at last

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After almost a week of obstructing passage through the Suez canal, Evergreen, the giant ship has been freed.

The Egyptian authorities said the 400m-long (1,300ft) ship was wedged across the canal before salvage crews dislodged her on Monday.

Suez is one of the world’s busiest trade routes, and companies were forced to divert ships, causing long tailbacks of hundreds of vessels.

According to global shipping experts, there are currently more than 370 ships waiting to pass through the canal, including container vessels, tankers, and bulk carriers.

There was no immediate clarity on when traffic in the canal will resume while clearing that backlog is expected to take several days.

Some ships have already left the region, preferring to take an alternative, longer route around the southern tip of Africa.

They will be joined by other vessels travelling from East Asia to Europe – whose operators have decided not to risk waiting for the canal to reopen.

Cargoes will be reaching their destination much later than planned; there may be congestion when they arrive in ports while future sailing schedules have been thrown into disarray.

The cost of shipping goods to Europe is expected to rise as a result.

Industry experts are warning that the knock-on effects on delicately balanced supply chains could be felt for months to come.

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