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Eight and Counting

We've recently been beaten over the head with "country first" rhetoric. The Ever Given shines a bright light on the question of how to put one country above all others when we live in a spider's web.

While politicians continue to use a country-first populist agenda, the rest of us are grappling with 10-12% of the world's trade hanging in the balance as the Suez Canal is blocked by one solitary ship.

Ever Given is the mother of all ships.

At 1,312 feet, she is quarter of a mile long and the largest ship that the Canal can accommodate. It is stuck at a angle in the Canal, about 3.7 miles from its southern entry point, blocking all traffic in this one-way portion of the channel. It is a 200,000 ton ship carrying 20,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent containers).

Ever Given is a Japanese ship, operated by a Taiwanese company, sailing under Panamanian flag with a entirely Indian crew. It is stuck in Egyptian waters, while heading to Rotterdam, carrying goods from China to the US.

That's eight countries in this mess!

Ever Given is holding up 280 ships - with things like cars, oil, and grain - at both ends of the Canal and causing up to 10B in goods to be stranded every week.

Please tell me which country comes first in this scenario or which country comes first in global trade?!

The undeniable fact is that we live in a web that is highly interconnected and it cannot be unraveled into a linear context. Most of what we buy that is not perishable is made outside the US. Some fruits and veggies are imported too. Tarun and I recently bought things for our home in California and I'll be hard-pressed to list one thing that is manufactured here.

Ships like the Ever Given are ferrying massive quantities of goods across international borders, in cooperation with dozens of countries overseeing their passage. You cannot switch off this interconnectedness and retreat into economic and geo-political isolation. Well, you can...if you are willing to live without the things you need to get through your day!

So, when your favorite politician waxes poetic about country-first ask them two simple questions - which one and how!

May the eight countries - and more! - put their heads together to unstick Ever Given as soon as possible.


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