Facing Challenges in the Maritime Transport Sector: Lessons from the Dual Global Crisis

In the professional world, crises are considered temporary events, but what happens when two global crises overlap, creating prolonged instability?

In the maritime transport sector, that’s precisely what happened, with significant consequences for global supply chains and logistics.

This article will explore the challenges faced by the maritime transport sector, the causes of the crises, and the lessons we can learn to address future similar events.

The context of the crises: The congestion of the Panama Canal triggered a series of events that had global repercussions.

Last year, the canal ran dry due to water levels dropping, severely limiting cargo ship traffic through this colossal waterway (through which, under normal circumstances, around 14,000 cargo ships pass annually).

Maritime transport companies had to seek alternative routes, but the situation worsened further with attacks by Houthi pirates and destabilization in the Middle East, making the Suez Canal also unnavigable.

These events created a chain reaction that impacted global supply chains, causing delays and transportation cost increases.

The consequences: The consequences of these overlapping crises have been significant and enduring.

Intercontinental transport times have been extended by at least a week, if not more, with serious repercussions on global supply chains.

Companies have faced increasingly complex logistical challenges, with a direct impact on costs and competitiveness. Furthermore, consumer demand has remained high, further exacerbating pressure on supply chains.

The importance of preparedness: This dual crisis in the maritime transport sector reminds us of the importance of being prepared to face the unexpected.

Supply chains must be resilient and flexible, capable of quickly adapting to crises. This requires not only investments in infrastructure and technologies but also a strategic vision and long-term determination.

Companies must identify and mitigate potential risks, plan crisis scenarios, and develop effective contingency plans.

Conclusions and future outlook: The maritime transport sector is a strategic battleground, where challenges and opportunities intersect complexly.

Addressing current crises and preparing for future ones requires collective commitment from companies, governments, and international institutions.

The only way we can ensure the stability of supply chains and global economic prosperity is by working together. Looking ahead, it is essential to continue closely monitoring the evolution of the maritime transport sector and to adapt quickly to market changes and emerging challenges.

  • Congestion at the Panama Canal and attacks on the Suez Canal: these two global crises in the maritime transport sector have caused prolonged instability.
  • Chain effects: limitations on maritime traffic have led to delays and increased transportation costs, influencing global supply chains.
  • Need for preparedness: companies must be resilient and flexible, with effective contingency plans to address unforeseen crises.
  • Importance of collaboration: addressing crises requires collective commitment from companies, governments, and international institutions.
  • Continuous monitoring and adaptation: the maritime transport sector is continuously evolving, and companies must adapt quickly to market changes and emerging challenges.
  • Investments in resilience and preparedness: to ensure the stability of supply chains and global economic prosperity, it is essential to invest in risk mitigation strategies and early planning.


The blocking of the Panama Canal by the container ship Ever Given in April 2021 marked a turning point in the global maritime transport landscape. With Ever Given stuck in the canal for about six days, over 400 ships were left waiting to transit, causing massive congestion.

This incident highlighted the vulnerability of commercial routes and the crucial importance of infrastructure such as navigation canals. Daily costs due to canal congestion were estimated to have reached $9-10 billion per day, with significant delays in goods deliveries worldwide.

This event underscored the need to develop more effective crisis management strategies in the maritime transport sector to mitigate risks and ensure the continuity of global supply chains.

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