London — The Suez Canal, one of the world's most critical commodity chokepoints, has been blocked after a container ship ran aground March 23, several shipping sources told S&P Global Platts.
"A container ship enroute from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean ran aground ... in the Suez Canal at about 0740 hours local time (0840 GMT) this morning [March 23]. The vessel suffered a blackout while transiting in a northerly direction," shipping and logistics company GAC said in its latest port update.
This caused a halting of all shipments and by late afternoon, flow on both the northbound and southbound directions were blocked, sources said.
Sources said the container ship has been identified as the Ever Given. It has a capacity of 20,000 twenty-foot equivalent units and is sailing under a Panama flag,
The ship continues to remain anchored at the southern end of the Suez Canal, according to cFlow, Platts trade-flow software.
The Suez Canal connects the Red Sea with the Mediterranean Sea and is a key waterway in international trade. It is a strategic route for crude oil, petroleum products, and LNG shipments.
Almost 10% of total seaborne oil trade and 8% of global LNG trade passes through the Suez Canal, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration.