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The Ever Given was pulled free from the Suez Canal on Monday after cutting off traffic in the vital waterway for six days, but experts say the disruptions to global trade will continue to reverberate.

“The disruption of a week of this size is going to continue to have cascading effects … it’s got to be at least 60 days before things get sorted out and appear to be a bit back to normal,” said Stephen Flynn, professor of political science at Northeastern University. “This level of disruption cascaded after every 24 hours,” he added.

The knock-on effects include congestion at ports as well as vessels not being in the right place for their next scheduled journey. Most importantly, it further exacerbates supply chains already reeling from a container shortage amid the Covid-19 buying boom.

Flynn, who is also founding director at the Global Resilience Institute, noted that this is one of the challenges of a just-in-time system. Assembly lines will be idled because parts don’t show up when they’re expected, for example.

“It’s never been stressed this badly before, and it’s going to take a really long time, and they’re just beginning the process of sorting it out … you’ve essentially created this traffic jam that doesn’t allow you just to reset and restart — you have to restack and reset the system and that’s something that’s going to take a lot of choreography,” Flynn added.


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