Suez Canal jam is like 'big tree falling across CTE', supplies may be disrupted: Ong Ye Kung

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·1-min read
The giant container vessel blocking the Suez Canal and the Central Expressway in Singapore. (PHOTOS: Suez Canal Authority/Yahoo News Singapore)
The giant container vessel blocking the Suez Canal and the Central Expressway in Singapore. (PHOTOS: Suez Canal Authority/Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — The Suez Canal jam resulting from a stranded 400m-long container ship may cause temporary disruption of supplies to the region, said Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung on Thursday (25 March).

In a Facebook post, Ong said the ship is now blocking one of the busiest waterways in the world that provides passage for around 10 per cent of global seaborne trade.

In contrast, the Straits of Malacca and Singapore provide passage for about one-third of global seaborne trade, Ong said. The two waterways are closely connected in linking up Europe, Middle East and Asia, he added.

“To have the Suez blocked is akin to a big tree falling across the CTE. Every other expressway linked to the CTE will be affected,” Ong said.

Should regional supplies be affected, some draw down on inventories will become necessary, according to Ong. The fall back is for ships to sail around the African continent – the Cape of Good Hope – to come to Asia, which is a longer journey by one to two weeks.

“If the disruption is prolonged, PSA may see schedule disruptions when shipping lines reroute their journeys. It will have to plan ahead and ensure that operations remain smooth,” Ong said.

The Japanese owners of the giant container vessel blocking the Suez Canal said on Thursday that they were facing "extreme difficulty" refloating it. This has prompted the Suez Canal Authority in Egypt to suspend navigation through one of the shipping lane.

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