100 Days Since Suez, the global supply chain is yet to recover
Last Thursday, 1st July, marked 100 days since the Ever Given container ship blocked the Suez Canal, one of the world’s most essential shipping arteries. The vessel was lodged for six days, causing unprecedented disruption, and the effects on the global supply chain are still being felt today.
According to Zencargo’s CEO, Alex Hersham, “the Ever Given’s blockage of the Suez Canal shone a spotlight on global supply chains in a way not previously imaginable. For the first time ever, the average person on the street was talking about trade routes and freight. And there has never been a better time for people to be aware of how things move from A to B because we are in an era of unprecedented disruption.
While it quickly became the subject of humorous memes, the Suez Canal crisis added serious insult to a global supply chain already injured by the pandemic. This was exacerbated by the lesser known crisis at Yantian port, one of the busiest container ports in the world, where a COVID-19 outbreak among workers resulted in it shutting down for a week, and then operating at reduced capacity for nearly a month. In terms of how many ships and containers will have been affected, Yantian actually dwarfed Suez.
Brexit, the pandemic, Suez, and Yantian are all once-in-a-generation disruption events that have hit us in an extremely short space of time. The result? Staggering delays and skyrocketing container rate costs. This is a nightmare for businesses because their profits are slashed and it takes longer to receive parts or products, while consumers may face long waiting times, and could potentially end up having to pay more if companies end up passing on the cost. Industries will struggle to get the materials they need, while governments will need much more time to stock up on PPE. The effects are very tangible, and will likely start to bleed over from the industry into the mainstream.
I’d love to paint a more positive picture for the future, but given the amount of strain and the lack of buffer in global supply chains, it’s almost inevitable that another disruption event will occur in the coming months. That could be anything from another COVID outbreak at a port to an orchestrated cyber attack. Businesses need to make sure their supply chains are agile and ready to respond, and that they make the investment before it’s too late.” -, Zencargo CEO
Alex Hersham is CEO and & co-founder of Zencargo (www.zencargo.com), a London-based digital freight forwarder that helps businesses including Vivienne Westwood, Swoon Furniture, Farfetch, and Soho Home make smarter supply chain decisions. The company recently raised £30M”.