Centre chalks out 4-point plan to tackle Suez Canal blockage

The Centre has chalked out a four-point plan to deal with the blockage in the Suez Canal, which has disrupted global trade, with over 200 vessels stuck in the channel. The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has welcomed cooperation and help from the US and other countries to refloat a giant cargo ship that has run aground and disrupted traffic on the world's busiest waterway trade routes.

The Suez Canal route is used for Indian trade worth $200 bln to and from North America, South America and Europe, which includes petroleum goods, organic chemicals, iron and steel, automobile, machinery, textiles and carpets, handicrafts including furniture, leather goods, among others.

The plan drawn by the logistics division of the commerce department includes prioritisation of cargo, stability of freight rates, advisory to Indian ports, and re-routing of ships. The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has been tasked with issuing advisory to Indian ports like Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Mundra Port, and Hazira Port to deal with bunching up of ships in coming days.

The government has also advised shipping lines through the Container Shipping Lines Association to explore the option of re-routing the ships through the Cape of Good Hope. The re-routing may take additional 15 days' time. The decision was taken during a meeting chaired by logistics special secretary Pawan Agarwal and attended by the shipping ministry, Directorate General of Shipping, Container Shipping Lines Association, and Federation of Indian Export Organisations.

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