Current Affairs

The Canal is Clear

 

The giant Ever Given container ship was finally pulled free from the bank of the Suez Canal, allowing for a massive tail back of ships to start navigating once again through one of the world’s most important trade routes.

Almost a week after it was stranded across the critical waterway, snarling global trade that was already under strain, salvage teams pulled the ship free from the sandy bank with tugs. Horns sounded in celebration as she made her way up the canal after an operation that involved moving 30,000 cubic meters of sand.

The ship reached the Great Bitter Lake where its hull will be inspected. Navigation on the canal for other vessels could resume soon. Container shipping company Hapag-Lloyd AG expects transit through the waterway to start Monday evening, and the backlog of vessels to be cleared within four days.

Highlights:

Ever Given reaches Great Bitter Lake Vessel is refloated and moving north toward the Bitter LakeCanal authority said navigation to resume, without setting a timeHapag-Lloyd expects traffic to start Monday evening437 vessels are waiting to transit the canal, GAC saysExplainers: Why the Suez Canal is so important, and why shipping was in a bind even before this crisis

Ever Given Reaches Great Bitter Lake (4:49 p.m. London)

The Ever Given arrived at the Great Bitter Lake, leaving traffic on the canal to start. The ship will be inspected at the lake

Romania Pushes to Prioritize Livestock Vessels (4:15 p.m. London)

Romania’s veterinary watchdog said steps are being taken to ensure ships transporting livestock receive priority in crossing the canal. Eleven vessels from the country — carrying 105,727 sheep and 1,613 cattle — are among those caught in the queue. The Suez Canal Authority and Egypt’s agriculture ministry have sent experts and veterinarians to the ships and additional food and water, it said.

Ship Moving Under Own Power (3:47 p.m. London)

https://t.co/0dC8LE0UFI pic.twitter.com/UZjcP2Mrpu

— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) March 29, 2021

The Ever Given appeared to be moving under its own power as it made its way north along the Suez Canal to the Great Bitter Lake, where the ship’s hull will be inspected. The tugs that were initially accompanying the vessel have dropped back, according to ship tracking data monitored by Bloomberg.

Ever Given is moving at about 7 knots and should reach the anchorage at about 5:30 p.m. London time if it maintains that speed.

Suez Traffic to Start Once Ever Given at Bitter Lake (3:18 p.m. London)

The ship is expected to arrive at the Great Bitter Lake in 1 1/2 to 2 hours, and once it’s there other traffic can resume, shipping agent GAC said, citing the canal authority. Transit is expected to return to normal in three to four days, after the backlog of ships are cleared, according to the statement.

There are 193 southbound vessel waiting at Port Said, 201 northbound at Suez and another 43 are waiting at Bitter Lake, GAC said.

Ship Moving to Bitter Lake to be Inspected (3:09 p.m. London)

The Ever Given is heading to the Great Bitter Lake where it will undergo a full inspection, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, the ship’s technical manager, said in a statement.

Hapag-Lloyd Sees Suez Transit Starting Monday (2:50 p.m. London)

Hapag-Lloyd expect transit on the Suez canal to start later this evening, and the backlog could be cleared within four days. It’s still not clear if any vessels might be prioritized for passage, according to the container shipping company said.

Tanker Shares Slide (2:46 p.m. London)

Share prices of oil tanker companies pulled back after the blockage was cleared. Frontline Ltd. was down as much as 10% in Oslo, while Euronav NV fell as much as 4.7%. Peers including DHT Holdings Inc. and International Seaways Inc. also declined after sharp gains on Friday, when it looked like a prolonged Suez canal disruption could boost earnings as ships sail around Africa.

Ever Given Being Towed Away for Inspection (2:40 p.m. London)

A total of 11 harbor tug boats and two “powerful seagoing tugs” called the Alp Guard and Carlo Magna were deployed to free the Ever Given, Peter Berdowski, CEO of Boskalis, the parent company of the salvage team, said in a statement. About 30,000 cubic meters of sand was dredged

The vessel is now towed to a location outside the channel for further inspection, he said.

Ship Moving North Toward Bitter Lake (2:35 p.m. London)

Horns sounded in celebration as the Ever Green moved north toward Bitter Lake after being freed from the mud it was stuck in for days. Ship tracking data showed the vessel was 2 kilometers from where it was grounded.

Ship Is Pulled Free (2:12 p.m. London)

The Ever Given was finally pulled free, allowing the canal to reopen to traffic.

The vessel is now fully afloat, the Suez Canal Authority said in a statement.

Latest Attempt to Free Vessel Failed (1:05 p.m. London)

An attempt to free the Ever Given that began around 11:30 a.m. local time appears to have failed, and a person with knowledge of the matter said another attempt would be made at 3 p.m.

Once the vessel is fully refloated and navigation on the canal resumes, ships will pass through at a rate of 100 a day to clear the backlog, the person said.

Shipping Rates Jump on Lack of Capacity (12:08 p.m. London)

Vessel delays will effectively cut the available container shipping capacity on the route at a time when it’s urgently needed, said Greg Knowler, senior European editor at IHS Markit’s Journal of Commerce. Spot freight rates from China to northern Europe are up almost 400% year on year, he said.

“Even once the Ever Given is out of the way and the convoys resume, it will still take many days to clear the backlog of vessels at each end of the canal, then a week for the westbound container ships to reach ports in north Europe,” Knowler said in a note. “That could see the Suez ships arriving around the same time as the dozens of vessels rerouted around Africa.”

Ship Is Moved To and Fro to Break Suction (12 p.m. London)

Tugs are moving the stern of the ship to and fro in order to dislodge the front hull from the mud, people familiar with the operation said. The movement resembles the wiggling of a tooth, one of the people said.

Tugs to Resume Work to Pull Vessel Free (10:45 a.m. London)

Live television pictures showed several tugs roped up to the ship in the canal’s turquoise water, but it wasn’t clear if there was any movement.

Dredging is still continuing around the bow, and the tugs will subsequently resume efforts to haul the vessel free, two people familiar with the operation said.

Egypt Has Ended the Crisis, Says President (Monday, 10:30 a.m. London)

“Egyptians have today succeeded in ending the crisis of the stranded ship at the Suez Canal, despite the huge technical complication that has surrounded the process from every side,” President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said in a statement.

Queue Could Last for Six Days, Says Maersk (Monday, 9:56 a.m. London)

“Assessing the current backlog of vessels, it could take six days or more for the complete queue to pass,” Maersk says in a statement.

Maersk and its partners have three vessels stuck in the canal and 29 waiting to enter. More are expected to reach the waterway today.

Too Early to Celebrate, Says Boskalis (Monday, 8 a.m. London):

“We need to be realistic and that is that the stem of the ship is still very much stuck,” said Peter Berdowski, CEO of Boskalis Westminster,

“Putting the rear end of the ship afloat was the easy part,” he said to Dutch NPO Radio. “The challenging part will be the front of the ship. Now, we will start working at the front. We do not want to celebrate too early.”

Ship Will be Able to Use Own Propulsion (Monday, 7:50 a.m. London)

When the Ever Given is ready to be moved, the ship will probably be able to use her own propulsion capability to sail to the Bitter Lake, said people familiar with the situation.

Euronav Says Will Take Time to Clear Queue of Ships (Monday, 7:05 a.m. London)

“It’s one thing to refloat the ship, it’s another thing to completely clear the canal of traffic,” Hugo De Stoop, CEO of oil-shipping firm Euronav, said to Bloomberg Television. “Whatever has been accumulated so far will take time to clear. Tentative timeline is probably two to three weeks, because the Suez canal was used probably at full capacity.”

Maneuvers Continue, Says Canal Authority (Monday, 6:50 a.m. London)

The ship’s been refloated and work will continue this morning around the time of high tide, the Canal Authority said.

The vessel’s course has been moved 80%, it said in a statement.

“The maneuvers are scheduled to resume again as the water level rises to its maximum height at 11:30 a.m., reaching 2 meters, allowing the ship’s course to be completely modified to the middle of the shipping course,” the authority said.

Navigation in the canal will resume once the ship is fully refloated and moved to the Great Bitter Lake area for technical checks, the authority said. The Bitter Lake is north of where the Ever Given ran aground.

Ship Partly Refloated in Dawn Rescue Effort (Monday, 4:44 a.m. London)

The giant container ship blocking the Suez Canal has been at least partially refloated, the first step toward getting one of the world’s most important trade arteries moving again.

The Ever Given was successfully refloated at about 4:30 a.m. local time in Egypt and the vessel is currently being secured, maritime services provider Inchcape Shipping Services said in an email. It followed a new attempt to dislodge the ship involving 10 tug boats, according to the Suez Canal Authority.

 

 

“I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.”

This morning – As Q1 wends to a close the threat of global recovery and higher rates overhang markets! Meanwhile, the market has spawned a whole new class of stocks: Trend Stocks – based on what we collectively believes about the future. Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) look set to benefit from Trend Stock status!

And what an interesting week that was… Imminent vaccine wars, the “threat” post-pandemic economic recovery triggers rate rises thus undoing unsustainable P/E stock price multiples, and regulators seeking to regulate the vim out of the big dogs of Big Tech. Money is flowing back into cyclicals and fundamental stocks – but it seems based largely on what looks cheap to today’s already grossly inflated market. If it all looks like the ingredients for a corrective burst – well who knows?

There are a couple of victims out there. I feel most sorry for AstraZeneca and Oxford University – despite all their good intentions to produce a fast vaccine at zero profit and get it out there, they are on everyone’s solids list. The Europeans are using them as the sacrificial lamb for their botched rollout, and the Americans are being all high & mighty about numbers – although the good Dr Fauci did say “It’s still a very good vaccine.” I got the AZ jab and I ain’t dead yet. Good on them!

Pity the pilot and captain of the container ship Ever Given. How embarrassing. How dangerous to the global economy?

Next week will be slow ahead of the Easter Break and quarter-end. There is a deal of account balancing underway, so we may yet see some moves. It might be an opportunity to take stock of where markets are.

What’s going to happen in Q2?

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Nearly $10 billion worth of global shipping traffic per day is being disrupted

 

This morning – Global Supply Chains could be stressed by the boat jammed in the Suez Canal. The lessons from the Pandemic offer an opportunity to rethink Global Infrastructure Spending – and mop up much of the money glut currently funding financial asset inflation!

It’s the No-See-Ums that create the biggest speedbumps for markets. Earlier this week I was talking about supply-chain finance breaking down. This morning it’s a rogue gust of wind that’s set actual real global supply chains a’tingle.

When a whale gets stranded on a beach what kills it is its own weight crushing its internal organs and the lungs. When a massive container ship jams itself across the Suez Canal, after a freak wind grounded it on a sandbar, it’s not as simple as just dragging it off – were that even possible. It’s the weight of the ship bearing down on its keel and internal structure that’s the killer. What would be worse than a ship blocking the canal would be a broken ship and containers and fuel spilling out of it. It took years to remove the wrecks of the Arab-Israeli wars from the Canal.

With luck and a good wind raising the water level, they may clear the Ever Given, but don’t make assumptions. Hope – as I keep reminding readers – is seldom an effective strategy. The authorities will be hoping, but it may take some time to lighten the ship, refloat it, drag it back down the waterway to unload and inspect it. It blocked the Canal at its very narrowest bottleneck point.

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March Madness Gamblers Expected To Break $8.5 Billion Record Thanks To Mobile Sports Betting

With online gambling now legal in 25 states, the 2021 NCAA tournament will be a slam dunk for gaming sites—and the friendly office pool may never rebound.

Bob, a 34-year-old gambler from Illinois who works in logistics, has bet in his office March Madness pool for the last five years. With about 75 colleagues and a $25 buy-in, the pot will be just under $2,000 for this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament—but he’s not filling out a bracket.

For gamblers, the office pool has lost its luster. “It’s boring—I’d rather gamble other ways,” says Bob, who did not want to give his last name. “For Betty Sue, who runs the front desk, does she like the office bracket? Of course, she does; she’s not a gambler.”

March Madness is always big action for Bob, who says he lays out about 25% of his annual $20,000 bankroll during the three-week long, a single-elimination, seven-round college basketball tournament. This year, he’s placing bets on mobile betting services like DraftKings and Barstool Sports. Bob will also wager with his go-to bookie, a longstanding relationship he has decided to keep despite his access to legal options.

He is not alone. According to a study published by the American Gaming Association this week, the number of Americans—36.7 million—filling out a bracket is down 8% compared to the last NCAA Tournament in 2019. (March Madness was cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 outbreak.) About 31 million Americans are placing more traditional bets on this year’s tournament, up from nearly 18 million in 2019.

“Brackets bring in about $2 million,” says DraftKing’s Johnny Avello. “I can’t tell you what March Madness will bring, but it will be exponentially bigger.”

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Chinese Military Bans Tesla Vehicles Over Camera Concerns

 

Could there be trouble brewing in Elon Musk’s communist paradise?

(Reuters) – The Chinese military banned Tesla cars from entering military housing complexes, citing security concerns over the cameras installed on the vehicles, according to two people who saw notices of the directive.

The order issued by the military advises Tesla owners to park their cars outside of military property, Bloomberg had earlier reported, adding that the ban was notified to residents of military housing this week.

Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported that China’s government was restricting the use of the company’s cars by personnel at military, state-owned enterprises in sensitive industries and key agencies, as they could be a source of national security leaks.

It was not immediately clear whether the measure applied to all such facilities.

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