Suez Canal races to clear backlog

The Suez Canal expects 140 ships to pass through on Tuesday (March 30) after the Ever Given was refloated a day earlier.

But experts have warned that disruptions to global shipping and at ports could still take months to resolve.

The blockage threw global supply chains into disarray, threatening costly delays for firms.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the massive ship's grounding had drawn attention to the waterway's importance for global trade.

"Since 1869, we can say for 150 or 160 years, the Suez Canal has been at the heart of international trade. So, all this talk about alternatives, no, this is an international passage for international trade that is integral for the whole world. Almost 12 to 13 percent of the size of international trade passes through here. I just wanted to say that maybe something bad has something good in it, that it alerted people to the fact that the Suez Canal is there, capable and will stay."

Shipping convoys through the canal resumed on Monday (March 29) evening, after the grounding led to a build-up of 422 vessels at either end of the canal and along its course.

Suez Canal Authority chairman Osama Rabie said 95 ships would pass by 7 pm local time on Tuesday, and a further 45 by midnight.

He reaffirmed an earlier aim to clear the backlog in three to four days.

However, knock-on effects could take much longer to resolve - weeks or months, according to shipping giant Maersk.