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Maersk opens for short-term bookings again after Suez blockage

The container market continues to be affected by the week-long traffic jam in the Suez Canal, which has further exacerbated container ship delays and pressure on ports. But the situation is now improved, and Maersk thus opens for short-term and Spot bookings again.

Maersk opens for bookings of short-term contracts and bookings carried out through online platform Spot again, albeit with some limitations, informs the shipping company in a customer update following re-opening of the Suez Canal last week.

Short-term bookings are, however, subject to both port, container and equipment availability, says the company in the update. Maersk has 50 vessels that have been delayed by close to a week due to the blockage.

"While we still expect the canal closure to impact schedules and port calls well into May (...) While the impact is still significant in certain areas, we have been successful with a number of mitigation efforts. We are therefore very pleased to be able to open for short-term bookings including Spot bookings again," writes Maersk.

Last week, once the Suez Canal had been unblocked, Maersk, the world's biggest container line, estimated that the traffic jam and the 400 ships that had accumulated around the canal could cause capacity to drop 20 to 30 percent in the weeks to come.

At the same time, Maersk temporarily shut down short-term bookings. "The closure currently applies to 14 services, including all exports from Asia," said Maersk last week.

But now, the company partially opens up for short-term bookings again.

The blockage happened on March 23, when ultra-large container vessel Ever Given ran aground in the canal, cutting off all traffic for six days before it was refloated on March 29. The Suez Canal is one of the most important waterways in the world.

Nearly 30 percent of global container transports go through the 193 km Suez Canal on a daily basis. According to Reuters, this equates to nearly 12 percent of global trade. More than 400 vessels piled up around the canal during the blockage.

This article originally appeared on Shipping Watch

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