Ever Given impounded by Egyptian authorities
In the two weeks since the Ever Given was freed from the banks of the Suez Canal, it has once again been brought to a standstill - this time by a web of red tape and potential legal action.
The 400m container ship, which blocked the shipping lane for six days in March, has been seized by Egyptian Authorities until its owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd pays a reported $900m bill to cover the cost of lost trade and reimburse various salvage crews that worked tirelessly to free the vessel.
Admiral Osama Rabie, Chairman and Managing Director of the Suez Canal Authority, told local broadcasters that “the vessel is now officially impounded”.
A court in Ismailia, a city on the canal’s west bank, ordered the vessel to remain in the Bitter Lakes, the holding area midway through the channel where it has been idly floating since tugboats shunted it free from the mud in late March. The vessel’s owners and insurers are said to be cooperating “in good faith”.
Authorities demand “loss of reputation” compensation
The Ever Given’s insurer said around a third of the claim put forward by authorities will be used to pay the specialist rescue teams, including tugboat crews and dredging vessels, while another third is for “loss of reputation”, according to reports.
It is estimated at least $9.5bn worth of goods were disrupted every day that the canal was blocked, as a backlog formed at either end of the manmade strait. Meanwhile some shipping companies were forced to reroute vessels around the African Cape of Good Hope - a costly and time intensive decision that further gridlocked the world’s already stretched ocean freight network.
The court’s decision will further delay shipments aboard the vessel and could cost cargo owners millions of dollars. A General Average was declared by the ship’s owners last week, a form of maritime mutual insurance which spreads the cost of damage, delay and cargo loss between every business with goods aboard a vessel.
The Suez Canal was blocked by the Ever Given in the early morning of 23 March. The vessel, a 20,000 TEU giant, remained lodged for almost a week until an international rescue coalition was able to dig, push and pull it back into the centre of the waterway.
DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.
This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go.
With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”.
Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats.
In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.
“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”.
How Do We Sustain Immunisation?
By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”.
Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared.
Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.