An aerial view of ships waiting to enter the Suez Canal last month. [Photo/Agencies]

Experts emphasize need to use alternatives

Consumer goods deliveries worldwide were delayed after a huge container vessel ran aground in the Suez Canal last month, blocking the vital trade artery.

Although the busy waterway has been cleared, the incident triggered debate over the construction of ever-larger ships, expanded shipping itineraries and China’s role in global trade flows.

The line of hundreds of vessels waiting to pass through the canal was finally cleared on Saturday, 11 days after the Ever Given ran aground.

The 400-meter vessel became stuck on March 23, some 115 kilometers north of the southern point of the waterway. The canal handles about 12 percent of global seaborne trade.

After nearly a week of relentless efforts, the Ever Given was freed on March 29, but it took nearly another week to clear the line of 422 vessels waiting to pass through the canal.

Even before the incident, global trade had been under pressure due to the pandemic, with a high number of shipping cancellations, container shortages and slower handling speeds at ports.