Shipping Giants Look at Arduous Reroute to Avoid Blocked Suez
Comment of the Day

March 25 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Shipping Giants Look at Arduous Reroute to Avoid Blocked Suez

This article from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Loadings scheduled from Qatar’s Ras Laffan export terminal may experience “considerable delays” if the situation doesn’t improve by the end of this week, according to Rebecca Chia, an analyst at market information group Kepler.

The congestion is also hitting bulk carriers that ship products from wheat to iron ore. There’s a long queue of bulk ships at the moment -- just shy of 40 vessels -- according to Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at trade group BIMCO.

“Unless the situation is resolved very quickly we will soon see ships sailing south of Africa,” Sand said. “Oil tanker rates are terribly low at the moment so that’s where there’s most upside. Then some upside for dry bulk.”

Eoin Treacy's view

The global supply chain has a number of chokepoints. Panama has invested heavily in providing additional capacity for its canal. Egypt has been much less proactive in planning for the future. The current blockage of the canal is a headache and has the capacity to cause short-term disruption.

Some estimates are stretching the solution time to weeks rather than days. Considering how essential the shortcut is to the global economy every effort will be made to ensure the delay is a short as possible. Generally speaking, teams can perform the impossible in short periods of time provided they are given the resources required so I doubt this is an issue we will be worrying about in a few weeks.

Crude oil rallied from the $60 area but retraced that move today. It seems oil traders are currently more worried about demand than supply as the number of countries moving back into lockdown increases.

The Baltic Dirty Tanker Index tends to be very cyclical with spikes in the last two months of most years. It is currently rallying from depressed levels but a sustained move above 1000 would be required to signal a return to medium-term demand dominance.

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