Alabama will feel impacts of Suez Canal crisis

Updated: Mar. 29, 2021 at 6:20 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - On Monday, high tide and plenty of tugs set the massive cargo ship stuck in the Suez Canal, free.

The container ship was stuck in the Suez Canal for almost a week.

The crisis clogged one of the world’s most vital waterways and halted billions of dollars a day.

The Suez Canal is more than 6,000 miles away, but the lasting effects will be felt right here in Huntsville for weeks or maybe even months to come.

“All of these pinch points in the global supply chain, effects everyone,” said Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Fillogic Bill Thayer.

Almost 400 vessels carrying everything from crude oil to exercise equipment were backed up since last Tuesday, waiting to cross the canal.

“It could be as minor as toys coming from China to possibly automobiles. It could be any number of things. When you look at container freight in general, it is a whole plethora of things that could be in those containers,” said Thayer.

While some ships are taking the alternative route, a 3,000 mile detour, others are waiting for the traffic jam to ease up.

“That’s a big detour thinking about it, right?” asked Thayer. “If you are going through the Suez Canal and now you must go back out the Mediterranean and down south around Africa, you’re adding two weeks.”

Analysts believe more than $95 million in tolls have already been lost. It is still unclear when traffic will return to normal. But experts said it could take at least another 10 days to clear the backlog.

“Since the global supply chain is all screwed up because of COVID anyways, it just makes it worse. Specifically, Americans, they are very much aware of the hiccups in supply chains based on what happened with PPE and masks, and gloves,” Thayer added.

The shipping industry estimated the blockage is impeding almost $10 billion per day worth of goods in container cargo, straining global supply chains already burdened by the pandemic.

“Things are about six months out of whack, now it is just going to add another month to it,” explained Thayer.

Experts warn, because of this delay, you can expect your packages or online orders to take a little longer to be delivered.

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