• m/v Ever Given

  • For topics on Class I and II passenger and freight operations more general in nature and not specifically related to a specific railroad with its own forum.
For topics on Class I and II passenger and freight operations more general in nature and not specifically related to a specific railroad with its own forum.

Moderator: Jeff Smith

  by Gilbert B Norman
 
I think it's astounding how the nature and scope of worldwide commerce has changed since the last time the Suez Canal was closed for any length of time. That occurred during the 1967 Six Day War, where it wasn't until 1975 that the Canal was reopened.

And, while it appears the Canal will soon be reopened and the Ever Given on her way to the breakers (speculation the hull was stressed and no longer seaworthy), the impact on world shipping appears far more severe after a week than it was for the eight year closure.

Now what I think we could discuss here is to what extent will rail be affected as the backlog of containers arrive at the East Coast ports?

My guess is not all that great. First let's be honest; rail is really not in the market for shipments of less than 500 miles; that comprises many more than is the case for West Coast ports handling shipments consigned to the Midwest. Secondly, consider how many more maritime ports the East Coast has than the West - and all, save southern Florida that still has an "open gateway" at Jax, served by competitive rail.

Considering how most of the goods routed through Suez are consigned to Western Europe, I think the "flood" will be a comparative "ripple in the mill pond".

Mr. Cowford?; Anyone?

Latest from The Times - courtesy of Microsoft News.
  by bostontrainguy
 
Just freed this morning around 9 AM EDT. Ship probably has suffered to the point of being structurally damaged and unusable.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Trainguy, here is Journal reporting that m/v Ever Given is free. Apparently, she will be towed to Great Bitter Lake, where her container cargo will be transloaded to other vessels.

I fear you are correct, that marine surveyors will find her hull was stressed to such extent that she is no longer seaworthy and will be broken up. Up will go the cost of ocean shipping through higher insurance premiums, as will the cost of most anything from Amazon or Wally World.

Western Europe will be more impacted by the disruption of the flow of goods than will North America. So much more of their inland transportation is by their East-West traversing waterways (Danube, Elbe, Rhine) than by rail or highway, that it simply will take longer to ease the backlog than it will for whatever over here has transited the Suez Canal to East Coast ports.
  by D Alex
 
Since the Ever Given is bound to the port of Rotterdam, Netherlands, I doubt anybody in the US is waiting for any containers coming off THAT ship. There might be a couple of US bound ships in the line of ships waiting to go through the Suez, but those are still many days away from arriving at US ports, which (last I read) were already backed-up with many ships remaining at anchor, waiting to be brought into port.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Alex, it's no secret that the West Coast ports are backed up, but are the East that backed up as well?

Oh well, what's this Chicago landlubber to know?
  by NRGeep
 
Are any Great Lakes ports backed up as well?
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Geep, neither the St. Lawrence Seaway nor the Welland Canal, let alone any inland port beyond Montreal, are capable of handling a vessel of Ever Given's size.
  by JayBee
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 1:13 pm Mr. Geep, neither the St. Lawrence Seaway nor the Welland Canal, let alone any inland port beyond Montreal, are capable of handling a vessel of Ever Given's size.
Not even the US West Coast ports can really handle ships of the size of the MV Ever Given. Largest ship to dock in the US was only 18,000 TEU and the port could barely handle her under the cranes, and not efficiently. Typical size ships for the West Coast are 12,000 to 15,000 TEU. Smaller for Asia to US East Coast. Next Maersk ship from Malaysia to Newark, NJ is the MV Maersk Athabaska scheduled to leave Tanjung Pelepas on May 31, 2021 and arrive in Newark on April 24th, 2021 with three intermediate stops. She was scheduled through the Suez Canal on April 14-15th, 2021. Likely she will be delayed. The MV Maersk Athabaska is 8200 TEU, so less than half the size of the MV Ever Given.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Interesting point immediately raised by Mr
Jay Bee; the media has reported m/v Ever Given was handling 20000 containers. Since I doubt if too many reporters kmow that one 40' container is 2 TEU's (Twenty foot Equivalent Unit), and m/v Ever Given had 20000 containers, she had 40000 TEU's aboard.
  by Cowford
 
To be clear, Ever Given's capacity is a hair over 20,000 TEUs. (Useless trivia: only about 25% of ISO boxes moved are 20-footers.)

Mr Norman, you questioned the impact. The primary US imports coming through the canal are from the Indian subcontinent. This makes up between 5-10% of total East Coast imports. So direct impact is a 1-3 week delay of those imports in April and the following difficulties on playing inventory replenishment catch-up. Other moves are murkier, e.g., East Asian cargo that comes through the canal and transshipped in Europe before coming to the US.

The extent of the indirect impacts are going to take a little while to understand. This is a gut-punch to Asia-Europe trade, and to global container and cellular vessel supply - right in the middle of extraordinarily tight conditions. In other words, my Balvenie scotch replenishment may be in jeopardy because there are delays in getting a can to the distillery's loading dock for loading.

In that case, it's a good thing tariff wars are hindering bourbon exports.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Cowford must have his Lloyd's Register handy!!

Wouldn't be nice if the media knew the difference between what "we" think of as a "container" (40 ft; 12m, 2 TEU) and a TEU, or the 20' Container, which is what my Niece had when she emigrated to Australia during '16.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
An article today in The Journal gives a good overview of the impact that the Ever Given's grounding will have on ground logistics in Western Europe, i.e. the EU.

Mr. Cowford's immediate report on the "ripple" over here falls right into line.

Finally, even Journal reporters seem unable to distinguish between a standard sized 12m container and a TEU:
Many shipowners had already decided to reroute down the coast of Africa to the Cape of Good Hope, adding weeks to the journey and increasing fuel costs. Salvagers originally worried that freeing the ship could take weeks, as it would need to be lightened by taking off fuel and ballast water and possibly removing its roughly 20,000 containers with helicopters.
  by NRGeep
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 1:13 pm Mr. Geep, neither the St. Lawrence Seaway nor the Welland Canal, let alone any inland port beyond Montreal, are capable of handling a vessel of Ever Given's size.
Apologies for not being clear. My inquiry is if the bigger real ocean ports capacity issues have had any side effects with the smaller capacity Great Lakes shipping lanes and facilities?
  by eolesen
 
It's still early in the season for the Great Lakes. Soo Locks opened last week (3/24) and the Welland didn't open up until 3/19, and the Seaway on 3/22.
Last edited by eolesen on Tue Mar 30, 2021 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by kitchin
 
JayBee wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 2:58 pm Not even the US West Coast ports can really handle ships of the size of the MV Ever Given. Largest ship to dock in the US was only 18,000 TEU and the port could barely handle her under the cranes, and not efficiently. Typical size ships for the West Coast are 12,000 to 15,000 TEU. Smaller for Asia to US East Coast.
Slight update, later a 19,000 TEU ship called at LA and Oakland.

The list of ships on Wikipedia has two dozen already at nearly 24,000 TEU.

The East Coast ports are competing with each other to get bigger, with deeper channels and larger cranes. So far 15,000 TEU seems to be the record. NY/NY is raising the Bayonne Bridge. Even Boston is going to 47 feet.

Ports are replacing diesel engines with electric motors.