Egypt's Suez Canal, the 193 km artificial sea-level waterway, has been closed since March 23. It connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea and provides the shortest and fastest sea link between Asia and Europe.
Suez Canal was blocked after a 2.2 lakh tonne container ship was grounded in the canal on Tuesday morning leading to a huge pile-up and delay in the movement of vessels carrying consumer goods and oil.
It includes petroleum goods, organic chemicals, iron and steel, automobile, machinery, textiles and carpets, handicrafts including furniture, leather goods, etc.
The commerce ministry's four-point plan to meet the exigency includes:
Prioritization of cargo. Identify cargo particularly perishable cargo for priority movement and work with the shipping lines.
The government is working the channels to ensure that Freight Rates remain the same as per existing contracts.
The government has been making requests to the shipping lines to maintain stability in freight rates during the period of crisis.
The government to explore the option of re-routing of ships via the Cape of Good Hope. It will decide on rerouting as, compared to the Suez, the cape route usually takes 15 additional days' time.
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