Sixty-five years after the late Egyptian president Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal, prompting the 1956 invasion by the UK, France and Israel, the waterway continues to hold a vice-like grip on global commerce.
A single ship almost as long as the Empire State Building has caused ripple effects around the world when it blocked the southern entrance to the canal after running aground. While rescuers were still desperately trying to dislodge the 220,000-tonne have warned it might take weeks to budge.
Crude oil prices have jumped, tankers and container ships are backed up and suppliers of everything from oil to televisions are contemplating sending their cargo around the Cape of Good Hope, potentially adding a week to shipping times, as well as significant extra costs.
In this scenario, the global economy is creaking under the strain. The stuck container ship symbolises the problems many supply chains in the world are facing after a year-long Corona pandemic. The Japanese owners may unload the containers in order to float the stuck ship!