Port of Felixstowe 'monitoring' ship stuck in Suez Canal
- Credit: PA
A ship stuck in the Suez Canal may not be moved until next week, leaving Suffolk shipping bosses scrambling to work out what impact it will have ahead of the Easter rush.
On Tuesday the Ever Given, a quarter-mile long cargo ship, ran aground in heavy winds blocking one of the world's busiest trade routes delaying the delivery of goods from Asia to the UK.
Mike Bowden, group marketing and procurement manager at Ipswich-based shipping agency Cory Brothers, said: "The bottom line is it will impact a tricky situation further. There will be disgruntled customers who have been dealing with a massive upsurge in demand which is sustained from last year.
"We're still figuring out how it affects us, in terms of trying to find out what we've got on what particular vessels.
"We're just trying to put together a picture of that and be as accurate as we can to say, 'Don't worry, your goods are un-affected, they're going to be on time' or 'They are going to be affected and here's a projected idea of how long the delay will be'.
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"The second busiest time for all the UK container haulage sector and the ports is Easter. We have two four day weeks. That impacts everything, it creates bottlenecks.
"The phones are running hot."
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A spokesman for the Port of Felixstowe declined to comment on what impact the blockage would have on the port, but did say they were "monitoring" the situation.
Eight large tug boats and a Dutch maritime recovery firm is currently attempting to free the ship, but the UK government has pledged to send British experts if required.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “We are working with the authorities to assess the situation, we stand ready to provide any assistance that we can.
“We have not been approached by any UK companies or organisations with concerns about implications for their shipping plans.
“However, some goods destined for the UK may be delayed in transit.”
Guy Platten, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping, said the canal carries “about 12% of the world’s goods”.
He added: “To give you some context, that’s £2.2 billion worth a day, £800 billion a year, it’s about 18,000 ships use the canal each year, so about 50-plus a day.”