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BREAKINGVIEWS-Suez blockage comes a year too late

PUBLISHED: Thu, 25 Mar 2021 10:07:35 GMT

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)

By Ed Cropley

LONDON, March 25 (Reuters Breakingviews) – The Ever Given continues to block the Egyptian canal. Barring progress, shipping firms may soon have to re-route vessels around Africa, adding seven days and extra fuel costs. A year ago, with crude prices tumbling, many did that anyway. With oil dearer, it’s a painful choice.

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CONTEXT NEWS

– Efforts to dislodge a 400-metre (1,312-foot) long container vessel choking traffic along the Suez Canal resumed at high tide on March 25, with five tugs working to drag the vessel to deeper water.

– The Ever Given vessel ran aground diagonally across the single-lane stretch of the southern canal on March 23 after losing the ability to steer amid high winds and a dust storm, the Suez Canal Authority said.

– Roughly 30% of the world’s shipping container volume goes through the 193-kilometre (120-mile) Suez Canal daily, representing 12% of total global trade of all goods.

– Brent crude oil futures climbed nearly 6% on March 24 to $64.57 a barrel amid concerns about disruptions to global supplies. They were down 1.8% at $63.28 per barrel by 0900 GMT on March 25.

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(Editing by George Hay and Oliver Taslic)

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