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Blockage of the Suez Will Hasten Global Supply Chain Shift, Says Maersk CEO

30th March 2021
GLOBAL SHIFT: Søren Skou (CEO of A.P. Møller-Maersk) believes further exposure of the fragility of just-in-time models adds additional momentum to the move towards just-in-case stockholding and diversification of suppliers. Above AFLOAT adds, the stricken Suez vessel, Ever Green, of the 20,000 (TEU) 'Golden' class, is one of the largest containerships in the world, based on the capacity of TEU (Twenty-foot equivalent unit) containers. Above AFLOAT's photo of a previous title holder, Mette Maersk of the Triple E-class (18,000 TEU) berthed at the UK's biggest 'box-boat' Port of Felixstowe. The Danish flagged containership, had transitted the Suez, is currently off Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean and according to AIS, is scheduled to arrive in Singapore on 3rd April (this Saturday). GLOBAL SHIFT: Søren Skou (CEO of A.P. Møller-Maersk) believes further exposure of the fragility of just-in-time models adds additional momentum to the move towards just-in-case stockholding and diversification of suppliers. Above AFLOAT adds, the stricken Suez vessel, Ever Green, of the 20,000 (TEU) 'Golden' class, is one of the largest containerships in the world, based on the capacity of TEU (Twenty-foot equivalent unit) containers. Above AFLOAT's photo of a previous title holder, Mette Maersk of the Triple E-class (18,000 TEU) berthed at the UK's biggest 'box-boat' Port of Felixstowe. The Danish flagged containership, had transitted the Suez, is currently off Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean and according to AIS, is scheduled to arrive in Singapore on 3rd April (this Saturday). Credit: Jehan Ashmore

Blockage of the Suez Canal that had been caused by Evergreen's containership ‘Ever Given’ since 23 March, will hasten the global shift away from just-in-time supply chains after further exposing their fragility, according to A.P. Møller-Maersk CEO Søren Skou.

The Danish shipping giant Maersk, sometimes seen as a bellwether of global trade given that it carries one fifth of the world’s ocean-going unitised freight, has a number of ships among the hundreds of vessels delayed by the blockage of the ‘Ever Given’ and has already rerouted 15 of its vessels around South Africa, adding about 10 days to journeys. It is also considering using air freight to get crucial components to customers.

Interviewed by The Financial Times, Skou said that companies had already been changing their supply chains because of the coronavirus pandemic, moving away from single suppliers and rethinking their dependence on just-in-time supply chains – where parts and components are delivered to manufacturing and assembly plants exactly when required. Instead, companies are increasingly embracing just-in-case supply chains, keeping much higher levels of inventory to avoid being caught short by disruptions.

More on the fallout from LloydsLoadingList and the now refloated Ever Given.  

Published in Ports & Shipping
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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