Traffic in the Suez Canal has now been unblocked, as the backlog of ships reached 422. Since the value carried by a day’s average normal quantity of 50 ships is around $10 billion, we estimate that the value of the cargo on the stacked up ships is in the area of $80 billion. That is the value of about 0.1% of world annual production – not trade, but all production.
Søren Skou, chief executive of Maersk, the world’s largest container line, says the event will accelerate a shift away from just-in-time supply chains. Since Maersk owns many dry-land container facilities as well as ships, he would say that. We don’t doubt that to some extent what he says is true, and there will now be more talk of “resilience”, “food security”, and so on. But that will apply only to a privileged part of the economy. There is no way the ruling class will want to “unstick” the global economy as a whole and change its course on such a gigantic scale without scuttling a large part of it. Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, the company capitalised at approximately 20 times the capitalisation of Maersk, put it more revealingly with his famous motto “Move fast and break things”.