International Report

Cargo Ship Freed from Suez Canal

The Evergreen Lines cargo ship Ever Given was freed from the Suez Canal on March 29, six days after it became stuck and became the subject of global fascination and occasional ridicule.

The 20,000 TEU-class container ship, which is currently leased by Evergreen Marine Corp. under a time charter agreement, had been deployed on a Far East-Europe service route when it became grounded when it collided with the canal bank and became across the waterway.

The blockage caused by the 1,300-foot-long vessel had a significant impact on trade between Europe and Asia and the Middle East. Over the first five days, at least 369 ships were queuing to pass through the canal, resulting in the backup of $9.6 billion worth of trade, according to reports.

“We are most grateful to the Suez Canal Authority and all the concerned parties for their assistance and support through this difficult and unfortunate situation,” Evergreen said in a prepared statement after the vessel was freed. “We would also like to express our deepest appreciation to the crew who remain steadfast in their posts as well as the salvage experts and dredging team for their professionalism and relentless efforts over the past six days toward securing this outcome.”

The cause of the incident is under investigation.


Panama Canal Modifies Transit Reservation Fees

The Panama Canal has modified its transit reservation fees in order to, it says, “better respond to evolving market changes and manage its capacity in the face of growing demand.”

The transit reservation system is an optional service offered by the Canal that gives customers the option of transiting on a specific date for an additional fee, thus guaranteeing transit.

The rising demand for these slots has prompted the Canal to alter its fees in order to meet demand and supply.

Effective April 15, the fees are as follows:

Booking Reservation Slots:

Panamax Locks

Regulars: (less than 27.74 m/91 feet in beam): $10,500;

Supers: (Overall length overall less than 274.32 m/900 feet and a maximum beam of 32.61 m/107 feet): $40,000;

Supers: (Vessels with an overall length between 274.32 m/900 feet and 294.44 m/966 feet), and a maximum beam of 32.61 m
/107 feet): $50,000.

Neopanamax Locks:

Vessels with beam less than 42.67 m/140 feet (including Panamax Plus vessels): $70,000;

Vessels with beam equal to or greater than 42.67 m/140 feet: $85,000.

Standard Auction Slots:

The base or initial amounts for slots awarded through the regular auction process are now as follows:

For regular vessels, the base or initial amount remains $15,000;

For supers, the base or initial amount is now $55,000;

For Neopanamax vessels (including Panamax Plus), the base or initial amount is $93,500.

Further details on the changes are available at


Hapag-Lloyd Acquires Africa Specialist NileDutch

German container shipping company Hapag-Lloyd and NileDutch have signed a sale and purchase agreement where Hapag-Lloyd acquires all shares of the Dutch shipper Nile Dutch Investments B.V.

NileDutch, with over 40 years of expertise, is one the leading providers of container services from and to West Africa. The company is present in 85 locations across the world and has 16 offices in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Singapore, China, Angola, Congo and Cameroon.

With 10 liner services, around 35,000 TEU of transport capacity and a container fleet of around 80,000 TEU, the company connects Europe, Asia and Latin America with West and South Africa. Rotterdam-headquartered NileDutch has some 350 employees worldwide with particular expertise in the African market.

“Africa is an important strategic growth market for Hapag-Lloyd. The acquisition of NileDutch strengthens our position in West Africa and will be an excellent addition to our existing activities on the continent,” Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen explained. “Our combined customer base will benefit from a denser network from and to Africa as well as from a much higher frequency of sailings.”

“Hapag-Lloyd and NileDutch are a very good fit,” NileDutch President Wim van Aalst added. “Combining our business and expertise in West Africa with Hapag-Lloyd´s worldwide network will enable us to make the next step and further develop the Africa business.”

The transaction’s completion is subject to the approval of antitrust authorities.

China Seizes 11 Ships in Oil Smuggling Ring Bust

In mid-March, China foiled criminals seeking to smuggle nearly a million tons of refined oil worth about $770 million, according to customs officials and news reports. The operation reportedly resulted in officials reportedly seizing 11 ships and detaining 171 suspects.

The operation, which saw customs officers from the port city of Ningbo join forces with local law enforcement and maritime police, spanned eight Chinese regions, including the coastal provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong and Fujian, China’s General Administration of Customs said in a statement.

A total of 14 gangs were busted March 16, the Customs administration added.

In a statement, Chinese authorities described the swoop as “one of the most extensive operations” in years to combat refined oil smuggling along China’s southeast coast.

China launched a coordinated nationwide campaign against refined oil smuggling last August, and by late February, had recorded 170 cases involving products worth 5.4 billion yuan.

China is Asia’s biggest refiner and consumer of oil products such as gasoline and diesel; however, it was not immediately clear in this case whether the gangs were trying to smuggle the oil into or out of the country.

Have a tip to share about international maritime news? Contact managing editor Mark Nero at