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Industry counting cost of Suez Canal blockage

The grounding of the Japanese-owner super vessel, Ever Given, in the Suez Canal could end up as a costly claims event for the insurance industry.

A similar event occurred in 2016 when the CSCL New Orleans, a large container ship, became stuck on the River Elbe as it was approaching the port of Hamburg in Germany, according to broker Marsh.

But the potential loss implications are higher this time as the artificially-built waterway is one of the world’s busiest trading lanes, providing a direct route between Europe and Asia.

Some 12% of global commerce passes through the maritime passage way and it is also a vital transit for the transport of oil and other energy supplies that fuel the global economy.

Marsh says “it is too soon to know the specifics” of potential insurance claims facing the industry but cautions there will be some exposure.

“Some insurance products can, under some circumstances, help to mitigate the risks,” the broker said.

“Marine delay cover is offered by a number of insurers. It is often possible, at the time of initial risk placement, to have such cover to include a wider set of events should exposure to the consequences of a physical blockage along the route adversely affect their business.”