As one of the world’s important shipping channels, the blockage of the Suez Canal has added new worries to the already tight global container shipping capacity. Some retailers in Europe and the United States worry that canal blockage and global supply chains may make it harder for companies to stabilize inventories during COVID-19.
A heavy cargo ship with the Panamanian flag ran aground in the new channel of the Suez Canal on the 23rd, causing channel blockage.
IKEA, the world’s largest retailer of household goods, confirmed that about 110 containers containing IKEA products were on board the stranded cargo ship. IKEA is investigating the number of containers carrying IKEA products on other blocked cargo ships.
“The adverse impact of this on our supply chain depends on the progress and time-consuming of the rescue operation,” said Hannah Maud, a spokesman for IKEA
Dixons mobile, a British retailer of electrical appliances, and brockler, a Dutch retailer of household products, both confirmed that the delivery of the goods was delayed due to the blockage of the canal.
This is a photo taken on March 26th of a ship moored on the Gulf of Suez in Egypt waiting to pass through the Suez Canal.
During the period of COVID-19, majorities of countries implemented “home orders” to stimulate people to upgrade their home furnishing products, and sales of household appliances such as televisions and sofas increased.
Lloyd’s List estimates that about $9.6 billion worth of containerized goods pass through the Suez Canal every day, including training equipment, clothing, household appliances and electronic products. According to global shipping experts, thousands of empty containers return to factories in Asia via the Suez Canal every day.
Richard roach, chairman of a sub committee of the national customs and Transportation Association, said: “this is a disastrous event in a tight market, after high demand has led to congestion delays in delivery of goods, making it impossible for imported goods to reach the shelves in time.”
Oliver Chapman, chief executive of OCI Group Co., Ltd., a global supply chain partner, said rail freight from Asia to Europe was “overloaded” and air freight was too expensive. Take rubber gloves as an example. It costs $2 to US $3 to transport a case of rubber gloves to Europe by air, which is a significant increase compared with the 25 cents required for sea transportation.