Fears raised over Suez Canal delays impacting UK new car deliveries

Jack Evans, PA Motoring Reporter
·2-min read

New cars set to be delivered in the UK are already being delayed by a container ship that became stuck in the Suez Canal.

Container ships are stuck in a queue behind the Ever Green, which ran aground on Tuesday. Despite best efforts by the Suez Canal Authority, it remains aground, with tugboats and a specialist suction dredger being used to try and move the giant ship.

It’s believed that up to 150 ships are waiting in a queue, hoping for the Panama-flagged ship to be moved.

Now, it appears that the issues could have a knock-on effect on the deliveries of new cars to the UK.

Kia told Car Dealer Magazine that it is ‘aware of the delays’ to the deliveries of some of its cars coming from Far Eastern factories. Other manufacturers have also admitted that they are closely watching the situation for developments.

Two car transporter container ships – the 57,000-tonne Morning Star and the Hoegh London – are already sitting waiting behind the Ever Green in the approach to the canal.

Cars made in both Japan and Korea are usually loaded onto ships that get to the UK through the Suez, arriving later on at ports such as Southampton and Tilbury.

Jim Holder, editorial director of Haymarket Automotive, publishers of What Car? and Autocar, said this was a blow the car industry could do without.

He told Car Dealer: “The last thing the UK car industry needed was any more disruption, especially just as dealers are about to re-open – but this does appear to be the latest in a long line of issues that threaten to undermine supply and choke back a degree of opportunity from lockdown relaxing.

“Combined with the semiconductor shortage and other disruption it does appear that buyers of some cars are going to have to wait longer than they might anticipate – and inevitably that will lead to some lost sales, either altogether or to rival brands, that can be ill-afforded right now.”