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Goods Going to Waste at the Suez Canal

Lemons, bamboo shoots and tofu sit in the sweltering heat, alongside goods from Lenovo, Ikea, Dixons Carphone and dozens of other brands – including barbecues, sun loungers, swimwear, lawnmowers and camping equipment – that will arrive at their intended destinations long after summer ends. Since the successful operation in late March to dislodge the 220,000-ton Ever Given from the Suez Canal, where it was stuck for six days, the cargo ship has been grounded again – this time by a fierce legal battle between the ship’s owners, insurance companies, and the Suez Canal Authority (SCA). In late April, Egypt declared that authorities were detaining the ship, her 26-person crew and millions of pounds in cargo, until its owners paid compensation for the blockage. The ship is unable to sail out of Egyptian waters until the problem is resolved. Some retailers are considering legal action against the Egyptian authorities to try to free their cargo. The battle hinges on a legal fight over compensation, due to return to court in the Egyptian port city of Ismailia later this month. The SCA said it was seeking $916m (£650m) from the Ever Given’s owners, Shoei Kisen, and their insurers, the UK P&I Club, including some salvage costs borne by cargo insurers.