Stuck ship partially freed, Thai exports look to bypass Suez

PHOTO: Julianne Cona / Instagram

The massive container ship stuck in the Suez Canal, the world’s busiest trade routes, has been partially freed and refloated. The 400-metre cargo ship was pushed off track by strong wind and has been wedged sideways, blocking the trade route in Egypt. Thai exporters have been looking into bypassing the Suez Canal and some may still have to seek extensions for deadlines.

Shipments worldwide were disrupted by the colossal container vessel blocking marine traffic on the canal, the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe stretching across Egypt from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.

Thai exports are looking into a much longer route around Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. The trip would take days longer and also jack up fuel costs, according to Deputy PM Jurin Laksanawisit. Dozens of other cargo ships around the world are taking the alternate route around Africa’s southern tip which would add 2 weeks the journeys, according to the Associated Press.

Prior to news of the ship being partially freed, Jurin, who is also the Commerce Minister, told the office of commercial affairs in Egypt to ask importers to extend deadlines for shipments from Thailand.

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A source told the Bangkok Post that Egypt is Thailand’s top trading partner. Importers have delayed orders for Thai goods due to the blocked canal. Shipments to Europe could be affected. As of this morning, there is no timeline on when the container ship is expected to be completely free.

The Thai government is keeping a close watch on the situation and government deputy spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek they’re ready to help Thai businesses affected by the blockage.

“If the private sector has any problem, the government is ready to help.”

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Associated Press

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