Saturday, March 27, 2021

It is Only One Ship

Credit...Maxar Technologies

As you have likely heard in the news, there is a big ship blocking the Suez Canal. The ship and the canal are half a world away, yet we are beginning to feel the effects of the canal's blockage here in the United States. 

The whole world is feeling the economic effects of this one ship closing the canal. It really is astounding when I think about it that the world economies are so dependent upon a few critical canals and passages around the world. 

I can think of a few others: Straits of Hormuz, Strait of Malacca, Panama Canal. There may be more. 

I am not sure that people understand the size of the ship in the canal. From the New York Times article, here is an attempt to help people grasp the magnitude of the problem:

But with the ship stretching about 1,300 feet long — roughly the height of the Empire State Building — and weighing around 200,000 metric tons, by Saturday morning they still had not managed to dislodge the vessel.

Just for comparison, a U.S. aircraft carrier is about 1,000 feet long. 

As the New York Times article further noted, once the ship is cleared from the canal and other ships begin transiting, they all may arrive at destination ports at once causing additional delays in getting offloaded.

It reminds me of the horseshoe nail proverb

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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