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The Ever Given grounding one year on

On this day one year ago, a giant vessel approached the Suez Canal in windswept conditions, sand whipping up across the banks of the 193 km strip of water connecting Asia with Europe. The infamous Ever Given would end up aground, straddling the waterway and for the ensuing six days shipping was thrust into the mainstream limelight like never before, providing countless memes and hours of dissection on rolling news channels.

More than 350 ships backed up in a queue behind the Ever Given, and some vessels even took an unusual detour, down around the Cape of Good Hope.

The legal tussle that would ensue once the ship had been freed would run into the hundreds of millions of dollars and the accident would force the Suez Canal Authority to kick off a widening project for the southern portion of the canal.

“Never in the field of global shipping has one ship ever given so much entertainment and laughs. The grounding of the ultra-large container ship made a splash in global news and drew an equally big response online as people rushed to their meme-making apps and cracked open a smile,” wrote Steven Jones from the Propeller Club Liverpool one week on from the grounding last year.

Looking at its significance to global supply chains one year on, Alex Hersham, CEO of digital freight forwarder Zencargo, commented: “Whilst this memeable six-day event led to immediate delays, with ships queuing for miles to get into ports and re-routing to deliver goods, the long-term damage to international supply chains from this and following events became apparent in the coming months.”

Hersham also said the grounding showed once and for all that global news is supply chain news and visa versa.

“This has always been the case, but for many, it took the striking images of the queuing boats at Suez to fully comprehend just how sensitive we are to disruption,” Hersham said.

Shipping has had to contend with many other supply chain blockages in the intervening months – not least Covid outbreaks in China and record-breaking queues outside American ports and latterly the fallout from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“There are many lessons to learn from all this. Businesses need to be versatile when it comes to their supply chains and procurement. Modern technology makes agility possible and simple, and companies can now for the first time ever, oversee their entire logistical operations from a desk in London, Hong Kong, or New York. When a seismic event like this blockage, or a Covid-related port closure or natural disaster, happens, businesses that have visibility across their supply chain can adapt fastest and use data to find alternate solutions and prosper,” commented Jack Macfarlane, CEO of AI-based procurement platform DeepStream.

In an act of nautical coincidence, another ship operated by Evergreen, the unfortunately named Ever Forward, finds itself the centre of attention to rolling news channels off the east coast of the US as a salvage operation gets underway to dislodge the ship which grounded off Chesapeake Bay 10 days ago.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Great, nice , excelllent. I hope my lying eyes will one day see the Ever Given casualty investigation reoprt which will have included the voice data from the bridge from the moment of instruction to heave anchor to the moment of ploughing into Asian continent with great passion and fury. Or will it remain veiled in great mystery of secret meetings of all concerned ?

    It will be a vindication of my experiences o/b OOCL Germany (managed by ER Schiffhart) in 2007 but I did not plough into any continent or block the Suez Canal . I simply had a vision of march 23rd 2021 event and it’s consequences and having uncontestable evidence of persistent and lasting years steering gear failure, had requested a tug assistance for S.C passage.

    Wonder if (names changed|) Fuhrer Assman and sub-Fuhrer Butique and their managerial cohorts, would have guts to look me in the eye for what they did afterwards as this ” excercise of mine ” as they quoted , cost them a pretty nickel. How petty nickel it was one can figure, comparing Ever Given nickels involved.
    May they all burn in hell. I am sorry and apologise the viewers for getting personal but it HURTS and will never stop hurting.

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