The Suez Canal is a shorter route for ships headed towards the Mediterranean and countries in Europe. The traffic jam occurred when the Ever Given was stuck because of a sandstorm. It is a Japanese cargo ship, and the traffic jam had a cascading effect. Other ships had to halt, and the congestion forced shipping companies to divert their ships around Africa, a longer route.

Daily Mail UK says nearly 250 vessels are stuck in the narrow waterway. The ship Ever Given is a massive container ship holding up the movement of other ships. Satellite images reveal the ship is wedged diagonally across the channel.

That is more or less the same position where it was stuck. It happened when the captain lost control during a sandstorm.

The situation has created problems for shipping companies. One of these problems is to re-route their vessels around Africa. The other is the fear of pirates because they have billions of dollars worth of cargo on board. Pirates usually operate in waters off East Africa, and they might carry out their activities.

Daily Mail UK adds it is a security concern, and some shipping companies have reached out to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet for help. This unit operates in the Red Sea. It is difficult to predict when the ship can float. The exercise involves digging up to more than 50ft below the vessel using excavators, dredgers, and other more sophisticated equipment.

Traffic jam in the Suez Canal

Refloating the Ever Given is now a priority activity. The Japanese owner is hopeful that the ship will be freed from the canal during high tide. However, the team of Dutch experts feels otherwise. In their opinion, it could take much longer to come out of the traffic jam. The canal authorities are reluctant to give a time frame.

Daily Mail UK mentions an alternative in case other options fail. That is to offload the cargo to reduce the weight of the ship. That would be a time-consuming process. The ship was built in 2018. With a length of nearly 400 meters, or a quarter of a mile, and a width of 193 feet, it is among the world's largest cargo ships and can carry some 20,000 containers at a time.

Effect on trade due to the traffic jam

Ships stuck in the Suez Canal are loaded with consignments like furniture, homewares, clothing, and footwear. Asian countries make them for export to Britain.

Obviously, the crisis would have some effect. It seems most of the electrical goods and furniture meant for the UK originate in Asia.

Daily Mail UK says one of these countries is China. It manufactures a large variety of toys that end up in Britain. Similarly for homewares. An expert global economist explains a delay of several weeks would mean increased shipping rates. The customers would have to bear the enhanced cost. Rerouting the ships around Africa would mean increasing journey time by 14 days.

Russia suggested developing alternatives to the Suez Canal.

Blockage of Suez Canal caused the traffic jam

According to The BBC, a merchant seaman on a nearby ship believes the accumulation of ships at the southern entrance could have a global impact on shipping schedules. The authorities have pressed into service tugboats, dredgers, and other equipment to dislodge the Ever Given.

It ran aground because of high winds and a sandstorm that affected visibility. Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea and is the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe. The alternative route is to Travel around the Cape of Good Hope, and it can take two weeks longer.

A service provider says more than 200 vessels are stuck at Port Suez in the Red Sea, in the Great Bitter Lake, midpoint, and Port Said in the Mediterranean. Traffic jams are usually associated with travel on the road, which is a unique case of a jam in the sea.