Canal Reopened After Historic Traffic Jam
Traffic was on the move again late Monday evening in Egypt’s Suez Canal, the main marine passageway between Asia and Europe, which was clogged for the past week after strong winds diagonally wedged a mammoth cargo ship that refused to budge. Local and Dutch teams worked around-the-clock to dislodge the 400-meter, 224,000-ton vessel, digging up 30,000 cubic meters of sand before the beast was finally refloated and ready to be tugged out of the way to safety. Canal authorities said the backlog of over 420 ships, waiting for days to continue their journeys, should be cleared by the end of the week. About 15% of the world’s shipping traffic transits through the Suez Canal, which connects the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea and is Egypt’s most profitable source of foreign currency revenue. The stoppage was costing the canal up to $15 million a day, and also caused major delays and disruptions for global supply chains, including a temporary hike in oil prices.