From March 23 to 29, 2021, the whole world was kept in suspense by the incident in the Suez Canal, in which a container ship of enormous dimensions blocked this waterway, and more than 400 vessels from different shipping lines were held up as a result of the grounding.
The impact of what happened on the Suez route, which mainly transports oil as well as other consumer goods, will have repercussions on world trade, with losses estimated at some US$9 billion a day.
Regardless of the causes of the Suez incident, one cannot help but wonder whether a similar event could occur in the Panama Canal that could impact global trade, although what is certain is that the two canals operate differently.
In this sense, many of the questions about the blockage of the Ever Given vessel and its possible implication with our inter-oceanic waterway were answered by the Canal Administrator, Ricaurte Vásquez Morales, in conversation with the media, and in this edition of El Faro, the most outstanding ones are noted.
Our conviction at the Panama Canal is to always evaluate risks, consider possible scenarios, and reduce the possibilities of incidents or accidents, especially those directly related to the human factor.
In this constant search, the most notorious example is how we faced – and continue to face – the coronavirus pandemic in our operations and, mainly, in our valuable workforce; actions that require the sum of everyone’s will, and that result in our constitutional responsibility to remain open to the transit of ships and world trade.
The maritime industry is a key component of the supply chain: more than 70% of the world’s goods are moved by sea. This requires and demands coordination between ports, routes, canals, companies and nations that are responsible for keeping afloat an economy already battered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The effort is permanent and the vision will always contemplate different scenarios.
Marianela Dengo de de Obaldía
Vice President for Communication and Corporate Image