Suez Canal closure risk, is it possible?

By Curious

Political situation in Egypt is provoking questions for the closing of Suez Canal. What will happen with the shipping industry if the canal is closed?
Vessels schedules could be changed to minimize delays. The chance for closure of the Suez Canal is increasing because of rising terrorist activity from either the ousted Muslim Brotherhood party or one of its rivals for power.

The distance from Asia to Europe will increase. The ships will need to sail around the Cape of Good Hope, transit times will increase. According to calculations average container ship speed only has to be changed to 22k in each direction to avoid the loss of time, still the max safe speed has to be between 24/25k.

Vessels sailing from Asia to Northern Europe maintain average speed of 19k. If the Suez Canal is closed, vessels will need more fuel but let's take back in May when the Suez Canal tolls were raised by 2%. The average time needed for ships to go through the canal is 12-16 hours using the convoy system that make the speed 11-16k.

The Suez Canal remains the most popular choice compared the Panama route. Although the total number of container ships sailing through the canal in the 1st quarter of the year reduced by 6.7% compared to the same period a year ago, down to 1,479, their average size increased by 0.6%, up to 121,522 net tons. Northbound containerised cargo reduced by 0.5%, down to 48.5 million tons, whereas southbound cargo fell by a higher 2.4%, down to 47,381 tons, which was well balanced bearing in mind Europe’s chronic trade imbalance with Asia (measured in teu).