Suez chaos leaves shipping companies counting accumulating expenses

The owners and charterers of ships that were held up both inside and outside the Suez Canal were facing a total of at least $24m in expenses that they will be unable to recoup on their insurance policies, according to industry experts.

While the ships will have P&I, hull, cargo, possibly war cover, Claudio Blancardi, underwriting director with ship insurer Nordic Marine, said that delay costs were usually excluded. Daily expenses were estimated to reach between $10,000 to $15,000 a day for each vessel. In many cases that would be written off.

Tanker owners do not tend to get paid demurrage for canal delays, taking such hits on their own account.

Meanwhile, charterers of ships who hire the vessel for an extended period would also be unable to claim back losses, leaving them also having to cover these costs.

Other potential expenses were additional fuel costs, lost days when the ship was unable to complete its voyage, and extra supplies.

Owners of cargo on the Ever Given look unlikely to see their containers at the scheduled destination port for some time to come. Marcus Baker, global head, marine and cargo, at insurance broker Marsh, said that “generally, if you are shipping anything other than perishable cargo, you don’t buy delay insurance”.

UK Club insured Ever Given for P&I, while hull insurance was with Japan’s MS&AD Insurance Group. The hull policy would cover the salvage costs, industry sources said.