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Convoy of ships in the Suez Canal

Ever Given, one of the world's largest container ships, sets sail to leave through Suez Canal after the canal authority reached a settlement with the vessel's owner and insurers, in Ismailia, Egypt, July 7, 2021. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Suez Canal Transits Fall to Lowest Level Since Ever Given Grounding

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January 17, 2024

By Brendan Murray (Bloomberg) —

Commercial ship transits through the Suez Canal dropped to the lowest level since the Ever Given blocked the waterway nearly three years ago, highlighting the extent to which attacks on vessels near the Red Sea are redirecting global trade to a longer, costlier route.

According to a data platform maintained by the International Monetary Fund and Oxford University, the seven-day moving average of daily Suez crossings by bulk cargo ships, container carriers and tankers fell to 49 as of Sunday. That’s down from a 2023 daily peak of 83 transits in late June, and lower than the seven-day average a year earlier of 70 transits.

Chart showing daily Suez Canal ship transits over last three months
Suez Canal Daily Transits Oct 15, 2023-Jan 14, 2024. Chart courtesy IMF Port Watch

It’s also the lightest traffic flow through Suez since early April 2021 — just after the massive container carrier wedged itself between the canal’s banks for almost a week in late-March 2021, rattling supply chains for months as idling ships scrambled to get back on schedule.

The data also show a corresponding rise in the number of ships passing by the Cape of Good Hope near the southern tip of Africa.

As for the Ever Given, ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg showed its most recent position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, heading east toward Sri Lanka after taking the southern route from northern Europe on a journey that began just after the widespread diversions started in mid-December.

© 2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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