EXPLAINER: Suez Canal block could hit product supply chains

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This satellite image from Cnes2021, Distribution Airbus DS, shows the cargo ship MV Ever Given stuck in the Suez Canal near Suez, Egypt, Thursday, March 25, 2021. The skyscraper-sized cargo ship wedged across Egypt's Suez Canal further imperiled global shipping Thursday as at least 150 other vessels needing to pass through the crucial waterway idled waiting for the obstruction to clear, authorities said. (Cnes2021, Distribution Airbus DS via AP)

The cargo ship blocking the Suez Canal is holding up traffic that carries nearly $10 billion worth of goods every day, so a quick clearing of the logjam is key to limiting the economic fallout.

Efforts continued Thursday to dislodge the Ever Given container ship and restore traffic on the critical man-made waterway that connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and provides a shipping shortcut between Europe and Asia.

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HOW VITAL IS THE CANAL TO SHIPPING?

About 10% of all global trade flows through the 120-mile-long (193-kilometer-long) canal, which allows tankers and container ships to avoid a long trip around the southern tip of Africa.

The iconic shipping journal Lloyd’s List estimates that goods worth $9.6 billion pass through the canal every day. Lloyd’s says about $5.1 billion of that traffic is westbound and $4.5 billion is eastbound.

About one-fourth of that traffic is on container ships — like the one that is currently burrowed into one side wall of the canal. Lloyd’s says more than 50 ships traverse the canal on an average day, carrying 1.2 billion tons of cargo.

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