Ever Given: Cargo ship that blocked Suez Canal arrives in Felixstowe

  • Published
Media caption,

Ever Given: Ship docks in Felixstowe after Suez Canal delay

A huge container ship that blocked the Suez Canal has docked in the UK for the first time since causing disruption to global shipping.

It was held for more than three months amid a dispute over compensation.

The 400m-long (1,300ft) ship, originally due to arrive in early April, finally docked at Felixstowe in Suffolk at about 16:30 on Tuesday.

Image source, Jeff Welch
Image caption,
The Ever Given is carrying goods valued at $775m

The ship had been heading for Rotterdam when it ploughed into the sandy bank of a single-lane stretch of the canal on 23 March.

At the scene - BBC reporter Mariam Issimdar

Image caption,
The beach at Felixstowe was lined with deckchairs and ship-spotters as the Ever Given approached

The ship has now arrived at Felixstowe - months later than expected but with its fame - or infamy - assured.

As it turned the corner for the home straight, noise levels from those waiting dropped noticeably to almost a hush, only to be broken by children shouting "It's here!".

The crowds remain, but have now reduced by about half. All eyes were on it as it manoeuvred into berth seven to complete its long journey.

A few voices could be heard saying it was a "little bit of an anti-climax," but all were pleased to have witnessed the end of the ship's epic struggle to get here.

Most people said it was worth the wait.

It was stuck for nearly a week, causing one of the biggest traffic jams in shipping history.

Hundreds of ships were delayed as they waited for the canal to be unblocked and some vessels were forced to take the much longer route around the southern tip of Africa.

Image source, Jeff Welch
Image caption,
When it was finally freed from the canal, the ship was delayed for a further three months due to a battle over compensation

When the ship, which carries cargo between Asia and Europe, was finally freed it was held up again until an agreement between Japanese owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd, and canal authorities was reached over compensation.

The backlog from the ship's delay has led to a leap in shipping rates and sent the cost of containers soaring from £2,500 last year to £15,000 now.

Media caption,

Ever Given: Time-lapse video captures Felixstowe arrival

Director of Seaport Freight Services, Steve Parks, said most of what is sold online and in UK comes from China.

Mr Parks, who is hoping to receive three consignments from the Ever Given by Friday, said the price rises were "bound to reflect upon prices in the shops".

"We are already looking at moving Christmas goods and have no option but to continue shipping," he added.

Image caption,
The Ever Given, which made headlines when it blocked the Suez Canal in Egypt, has docked in Felixstowe

Goods in the Ever Given's 18,000 containers have an estimated value of $775m, but many of them will hold fruit and vegetables which will have to be destroyed, having passed their use-by date.

Jake Slinn, owner of JS Global Cargo & Freight Disposal in Ipswich, said his business was expecting 20 to 30 containers from the ship.

He explained that most ships contained some goods that needed to be destroyed as they had gone out of date, or sold on if their original buyer no longer wanted them.

Foodstuffs are destroyed via anaerobic digestion, while the company will also deal with a host of items from TVs to clothing.

"We don't know what it is going to be until we crack the doors open," said Mr Flynn.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The Ever Given is 400m-long (1,312ft) and weighs 200,000 tonnes

Wendy, who had travelled from Trimley to see the Ever Given arrive in Felixstowe, told BBC Radio Suffolk: "I've been following it from the Suez Canal, and I said to the grandchildren 'We will bring you down to see it when it hits Felixstowe'."

One ship-spotter said the arrival had been "a long time coming, but it's worth it," while another said: "It's just all the publicity it has had. To see it finally here is quite amazing."

The Ever Given's next destination is Hamburg, Germany.

Find BBC News: East of England on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have a story suggestion email eastofenglandnews@bbc.co.uk

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.