Smooth sailing in logistics is never newsworthy; the media will never report on a non-accident. We take for granted that many transportation and communication systems run in and incredibly efficient manner and the exception proves the rule. The March 2021 accident that shut down the Suez Canal was major news; think about the largest freeway near your community. An accident makes for a huge traffic jam…now but imagine that on the Suez Canal, which facilitates roughly 10% of ALL global trade. This negatively numerous global supply chains and impacted stock markets prices of oil and other commodities as it brought Mediterranean/Indian Ocean trade to an absolute standstill. The critical nature of choke points to the entire system are revealed on the rare occasions when things go wrong. The CNN video in the the tweet below explains the economic ramifications of a choke point “choking off” trade. SOURCES: BBC, BLOOMBERG, NPR, AP.

The port cities of Suez and Said have growing fleets of massive tankers and huge cargo ships that have nowhere to go as they wait. The Great Bitter Lake, in the middle of the Suez canal, is once again a place for ships unable to proceed. In 1967, the Six-Day War stranded ships that then created the Great Bitter Lake Association (awesome 99pi story of that side note here).
This giant excavator looks likes little Lego toy next to the “Ever Given,” that is about as long as the Empire State Building is tall.

Below, is a video that shows the inauguration of the 2015 expansion of the Suez Canal. This gives some solid context for the importance of the Suez Canal. Completed in 1869, with the new expansion the canal is over 200 meters wide and 24 meters deep. This was made to accommodate the largest of the ocean-going vessels, which when turned sideways (as we have learned in this incident) can be over 400 meters and block the entire canal.

The Incident was also great for the online meme creators.