An aerial view of the Suez Canal in Egypt, taken from a commercial flight on March 27, 2021.
  • Aerial photos of the Suez Canal show just how bad the traffic jam of ships has become in recent days.
  • The canal was completely blocked after a giant ship called the Ever Given ran aground on Tuesday.
  • Some container ships have already said they would take a detour around Africa instead.
  • See more stories on Business Insider's home page.

Aerial photos from a plane flying over the Suez Canal on Saturday have shown just how bad the traffic jam of ships has become, five days after a giant container ship ran aground and blocked the vital trade route.

The 224,000-ton freighter called the Ever Given has held up more than 300 other ships needing to travel through the channel, one of the world's busiest trade arteries.

At least three container ships have said they would take a detour around Africa instead after analysts watching the situation said it could take days, even weeks, to dislodge the Ever Given, according to Bloomberg.

READ | Suez: Massive ships now heading towards SA - among them Ever Given's sister ship

The fiasco is costing the global economy an estimated R6 billion per hour and is already causing shortages of toilet paper, coffee, and furniture.

The ship is delaying an estimated $9.6 billion of goods each day, according to shipping data.

An aerial view of the Suez Canal in Egypt, taken from a commercial flight on March 27, 2021.

Efforts are still underway to prise the ship away from the canal's sides, where it got stuck after a sandstorm on Tuesday.

Some progress was made on Saturday after more than a dozen tugboats managed to move the ship by two inches.

General Osama Rabie, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, told reporters that the vessel could refloat by Sunday after some water had started running underneath it.

"We expect that at any time, the ship could slide and move from the spot it is in," he said, according to the BBC.

An aerial view of the Suez Canal in Egypt, taken from a commercial flight on March 27, 2021.

On Sunday, Egypt's president has ordered preparations to unload the Ever Given ship's cargo if refloating fails.

The process of removing cargo boxes from the ship is very complex and would take several days.

The Ever Given is one of the world's largest cargo ships, with space for 20,000 twenty-foot metal containers.