Blockade Suez Canal: ‘My 3,250 school diaries are on that ship’

Since Tuesday, the Suez Canal in Egypt has been blocked by a giant container ship, the Ever Given. The ship was on its way from China to the port of Rotterdam. And with that also Ilse’s school diaries. “There are not just any containers on the ship, there are stories in it. It is about people’s things,” she says.

Because the container ship is blocking the Suez Canal, no ship can pass any more. A real traffic jam has arisen at the channel:

At first, Ilse van der Stoep was not worried. “I was watching the news and saw that a container ship had run aground on the Suez Canal.” It will happen to you that your things are on it, “I thought. But a little later I got a call from the printer. He told me that my school diaries were on that ship. ”

And since then Ilse has been constantly working on it. Because the delivery of the 3250 diaries, specially designed for children who have difficulty planning, would arrive right on time. “These are calendars for the coming school year. And at the moment the schools are already starting to place orders.”

‘Ten years of work to the sharks’

For ten years, Ilse has been working with her publisher StoepKrijt to create low-stimulus agendas for children who have difficulty planning. Children with ADHD or autism in particular benefit enormously. “The cargo is insured, but our profit is not. I have a small business and I have to pay my people. If it takes too long, it will be difficult. Because then I am afraid that my customers will switch to another supplier”, she says. “I have built up a solid customer base in ten years and it would be a shame if I lost it this way now.”

The planning was that the calendars would arrive in Rotterdam next Wednesday and be delivered to the customers the following week. But that is now completely in the soup, says Ilse. “It could take weeks. But I can’t help it. I try to keep my customers informed as much as possible, although we have no idea how long it will take.”

What now?

A team from the Dutch recovery company Boskalis is now on site. They will help the Egyptian authorities to refloat the container ship. Boskalis has more than 175 years of experience with salvage operations all over the world.

The recovery companies hope to be able to pull the ship off without having to unload containers. On Monday, the recovery companies will receive a boost from Mother Nature, in the form of spring tide. As a result, the water in the Suez Canal is about a meter higher than normal. If that does not help, an attempt will be made to dredge the sand from under the ship or to wash it away under high pressure.

In the meantime, Ilse waits and the printery keeps her informed. She hopes that the delay will ultimately be better than expected. “I want to be able to deliver the calendars to the customers on time. If necessary, I will deliver them myself.”

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