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Suez Canal Traffic Jam Clears

The backlog of ships in the Suez Canal has been cleared following the refloating of the Ever Given, which got stuck in the Canal blocking the chokepoint for almost a week.

Bloomberg reports, citing Egyptian authorities, that the last 85 ships that were waiting in the Canal, passed through it yesterday. Since the refloating of the container ship on March 29, more than 400 vessels have passed through the Canal.

The 400-meter (1,312-foot-long) container ship Ever Given, which is basically a ship the size of a skyscraper, ran aground in the Suez Canal in late March and remained stuck sideways in the narrowest path of the canal, leaving other ships and tankers—both north- and south-bound—unable to pass.

This quickly caused a buildup of vessels waiting to pass through one of the world’s busiest maritime routes, handling some 12 percent of global trade, including 9 percent of seaborne traded crude oil.

Oil prices jumped almost immediately and continued climbing as the authorities said it could take weeks and even months to dislodge the Ever Given from the canal. Luckily, it did not come to months but the situation did affect about 13 million barrels of crude on 10 tankers stuck in the Canal with the other four hundred or so.

The top three exporters of crude oil and oil products via the Suez Canal so far in 2021 were Russia with 546,000 barrels per day (bpd), Saudi Arabia with 410,000 bpd, and Iraq with 400,000 bpd, according to Vortexa.

The top three importers of crude and petroleum products year to date were India with 490,000 bpd, China with 420,000 bpd, and South Korea with 380,000 bpd.

Some 3.6 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum products pass through the chokepoint daily.

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As a result of what many called a second Suez Crisis, some oil and LNG tankers were diverted to other routes. The blockage has been estimated to have cost global trade some $6-10 billion.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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