“You have to think about the time of year, spring is starting. A lot of it is furniture, outdoor stuff, barbecues. It could be anything. Everyone is going to see massive delays on what they have ordered from China,” said Gavin White, the director of KG Logistics, a British freight forwarding firm that has cargo on ships stuck in the Red Sea.
“I’ve had a customer on the phone today who is pulling his hair out. He has cargo that he needs to meet a deadline. All we can say is it is delayed and we don’t know how long for,” he said.
“It is a domino effect. A lot of ships will be delayed for import, and exports will be stuck,” said H. Hares, the director of Rotterdam-based Go Global, who has a shipment of solar panels delayed in the traffic jam.
He said many European importers would be hoping to make up lost days by re-routing ships to ports in Italy or the South of France and transferring cargo to lorries.
But that plan will only work if the canal can be re-opened in a matter of days. The SAC said it stopped any more ships from entering the canal until it is cleared.
The Japanese company that owns the ship on Thursday apologised for “causing a great deal of concern” to other vessels queuing to use the canal but cautioned that the “situation is extremely difficult,” suggesting salvage may take some time.
“We are trying to refloat in cooperation with the local authorities and the ship management company… but the situation is extremely difficult. We will continue to do our utmost to refloat and will continue to work toward an early resolution of the situation,” Shoei Kisen Kaisha said in a statement.
“We sincerely apologize for causing a great deal of concern to the vessels scheduled to sail and all related parties while navigating the Suez Canal.”