In a note released over the weekend, Caroline Becquart, Senior Vice President and head of Asia & 2M service network, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company said the following:

“There’s no doubt that the current Suez Canal blockage is going to result in one of the biggest disruptions to global trade in recent years and we are working around the clock to manage our fleet and services so we can keep cargo moving and keep trade flowing as best we can under the circumstances.

Sailing around the Cape of Good Hope is an option on some routes, while in other cases it’s more about working closely with our customers to see what other solutions we can devise. Unfortunately, even when the canal re-opens for the huge backlog of ships waiting at anchorage this will lead to a surge in arrivals at certain ports and we may experience fresh congestion problems.

We envisage the second quarter of 2021 being more disrupted than the first three months, and perhaps even more challenging than it was at the end of last year. Companies should expect the Suez blockage to lead to a constriction in shipping capacity and equipment, and consequently, some deterioration in supply chain reliability issues over the coming months.

MSC, as a container carrier and service provider, will exhaust all possible options to remedy the situation.”

Earlier, MSC had issued the following customer advisory:

Further to our earlier communication, please be advised that the Suez Canal remains closed for transit since 23 March due to the blockage by the container ship MV Ever Given. All major container carriers’ services have been affected by this incident, which has temporarily disabled one of the most important arteries in global trade.

MSC expects this incident to have a very significant impact on the movement of containerized goods, disrupting supply chains beyond the existing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We thank you for understanding that this incident is beyond MSC’s control and we welcome your close collaboration to try to ease the situation for you in any way possible.

As a frequent user of the canal, MSC will continue to monitor the situation very closely for updates and we will seek to resume passage as soon as the authorities and salvors have cleared the obstacle and given the green light. We currently have no concrete information, or forecast, of when this will be.

Service & schedule changes

In the meantime, we have started to redirect some vessels in order to keep cargo flowing by other routes. Please note that transit via Suez is definitively canceled in the following cases:

Vessels being re-routed via the Cape of Good Hope:
  • Australia Express service: MSC SINDY, voyage MA109A
  • 2M America service: MAERSK ALGOL, voyage 108E
  • 2M Elephant service: MAERSK SKARSTIND, voyage 109E
  • 2M Emerald service: BREMEN, voyage UL108W
  • 2M Emerald service: MSC BILBAO, voyage UL109W
  • INDUSA service: NORTHERN JAVELIN, voyage IV109R
  • INDUSA service: VARNA BAY, voyage IV110R
  • NWC to IPAK service: CONTI CORTESIA, voyage IP111R
  • 2M Lion Service: MSC AMSTERDAM, voyage QL110W
  • 2M Albatross service: MERETE MAERSK, voyage 111E
  • 2M Silk Service: MAERSK MADISON, voyage 111E
Vessels being turned back as per below comments:
  • India-Med Service: MSC STELLA, voyage MI109R, will discharge cargo at King Abdullah Port and return to India.
  • INDUSA Service: SEAMAX DARIEN, voyage IV108R, will discharge cargo in Mediterranean ports awaiting further orders.

MSC also envisages some missed sailings as a result of this incident and, in some cases, we may therefore need to adapt the volumes of bookings we can accept according to the reduced capacity available on certain trades.

In general, MSC customers with cargo that was due for transit via Suez since 23 March should be prepared for potential schedule changes. We will continue to communicate further as the situation evolves.

Vessels impacted in the Suez area

As at 1800hrs CET, 26 March, the following vessels with MSC customers’ cargo onboard are in the local area as we continue to monitor the situation (MSC fleet in bold; list subject to change).

Vessels anchored at the Great Bitter Lake during transit on 23 March:
  • MSC ROMA (southbound) – NWC to IPAK service, voyage IP109A
  • MAERSK ESMERALDAS (southbound) – 2M Shogun service, voyage 107E
  • MAERSK SAIGON (southbound) – 2M Elephant service, voyage 107E
  • GUNDE MAERSK (southbound) – 2M Empire service, voyage 108W
Vessels southbound waiting at anchor:
  • SEAMAX GREENWICH – Australia Express service, voyage MA108A
  • MAERSK HANOI – 2M Phoenix service, voyage 109E
  • SEAMAX NORWALK – Himalaya Express service, voyage IS109A
  • GEORG MAERSK – 2M Lion service, voyage 106E
  • MSC GIULIA – Indus Express service, voyage IU107R
  • ADRIAN MAERSK – 2M America service, voyage 107E
Vessels northbound waiting at anchor:
  • MSC ERICA – 2M Shogun service, voyage QH108W
  • CONTI EVEREST – Australia Express service, voyage MA107R
  • MSC RIFAYA – 2M Albatross service, voyage FB108W
  • MSC BENEDETTA – Himalaya Express service, voyage IS109R
  • MSC OSCAR – 2M Tiger service, voyage FT107W
  • LE HAVRE – NWC to IPAK service, voyage IP110R
  • EBBA MAERSK – 2M Condor service, voyage 109W
  • MUNKEBO MAERSK – 2M Griffin service, voyage 109W
  • MARY MAERSK – 2M Silk service, voyage 108W

Source: indiaseatrade