A ship flying the Hong Kong flag momentarily blocks Egypt’s crucial Suez Canal


On March 23, 2021, a Hong Kong-flagged vessel briefly blocked Egypt’s vital Suez Canal, preventing the passage of other vessels. The incident occurred due to a technical issue that caused the Ever Given, a large container ship, to become lodged in the waterway.

The Ever Given was eventually unstuck from the canal, but not before it had blocked the canal for six days. This caused a devastating disruption to the global trade system as hundreds of vessels were held up in both directions. The incident cost the global economy an estimated $9.6 billion in lost trade, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

In order to help prevent similar disruptions in the future, Egypt is currently making improvements to the Suez Canal’s navigational technology and channel designs. The Egypt- Japan Friendship Canal, which runs parallel to the Suez Canal, is also currently being built and is expected to open in 2022. This new canal is expected to help reduce congestion in the area and improve shipping efficiency.