02 February 2011 16:17 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--The ongoing political unrest in Egypt has interrupted supply-chain logistics for chemical and manufacturing plants, but traffic through the Suez Canal was mostly unaffected, market sources said on Wednesday.
Information about the operating status of Egypt's ports was ambiguous.
Local curfews prevented full operation of container terminals, which resulted in congestion and delays, the GAC Egypt shipping agency said.
Break-bulk operations were very slow owing to a shortage of labour and diesel for shore equipment.
Silos for bulk cargo were still in operation and all oil and gas terminals were fully operational, GAC said.
But this was contradicted by Inchcape Shipping Services, which said that all ports were closed, according to an update from its website. The agency made no distinction between gas, liquid, bulk and container operations.
Some chemical plants in the country had shut down or were reducing operations because raw materials were not being delivered or because products could not be shipped.
All sources agreed that local curfews had prevented workers from reaching ports and that internet connections had been suspended until Wednesday morning. Communications remained difficult, they added.
GAC said that banks were expected to remain closed at least until 4 February, but that banking operations were being conducted by telephone behind closed doors amid high security.
Outside the country, companies prepared to suspend deliveries to Egypt. SABIC, the Saudi Arabian petrochemical producer, said it would not ship polyolefins to Egyptian ports while the unrest continued.
Urea producers expected that the disruption to the country's logistics would put upward pressure on prices, market sources said.
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