The maritime world went into overdrive this week to dislodge one of the world's biggest ships after it got jammed in the Suez Canal, laying bare the challenges the industry must navigate as mammoth vessels play an ever larger role in global trade.

The container ship Ever Given, which got stuck across the canal on Tuesday, can haul more than 20,100 steel boxes, making it one of the largest container ships, according to Jayendu Krishna, director of maritime advisers at the consultancy Drewry. Such vessels can be longer than the height of the Eiffel Tower and bigger than three soccer fields...

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