One of the world's largest container ships has resumed its journey to leave the Suez Canal, 106 days after becoming wedged across a southern section of the waterway for nearly a week and disrupting global trade.

The Ever Given started to move north in the Great Bitter Lake, which separates two sections of the canal and where it has been moored with its Indian crew since being refloated on 29 March.

It then joined the back of a northbound convoy, passing the site of a ceremony where the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and representatives for the ship signed a compensation settlement that allowed for its release.

Canal sources said the vessel would be escorted by two tug boats and guided by two experienced pilots as it made its way through the canal, one of the world's busiest waterways, towards the Mediterranean Sea.

Tarek Alzeki, captain of a tug boat carrying reporters, said the Ever Given would reach Port Said at the waterway's northern end after about six hours.

The 400-metre vessel is loaded with about 18,300 containers.

Footage broadcast on Egyptian TV showed the captain and another crew member being presented with a bunch of flowers and a plaque on board the ship.

The Ever Given had become grounded in the southernmost, single-lane stretch of the canal on 23 March amid high winds.

It was held by the SCA under court order while the authority sought compensation from the ship's Japanese owner Shoei Kisen and its insurers.

The SCA demanded more than $900 million (€760m) for the salvage operation and other losses, later lowered to $550 million (€465m).

The Ever Given's owners and insurers had disputed its detention and the compensation claim.

After protracted negotiations, an undisclosed settlement between the parties was reached and the SCA announced that the ship would be released.

Khalid Abubakr, a lawyer for the SCA, said that the authority was committed to keeping the terms of the agreement confidential.

Yukito Higaki of Imabari shipbuilding, of which Shoei Kisen is a subsidiary, thanked the SCA in a recorded statement.

"Our company has a large fleet of ships and will continue to be a regular and loyal customer of the Suez Canal, which in our view remains an indispensable asset for international maritime trade," he said.

The agreement stipulated that neither party would make further demands, the head of the canal authority said.

Osama Rabie told reporters that the deal included the payment of a lump sum, without giving further details.

He said the SCA would not change rules for passage of ships in bad weather, but that the Ever Given's grounding had accelerated plans for the waterway's expansion.

About 15% of world shipping traffic transits the Suez Canal, which is the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

It is an important source of foreign currency revenue for Egypt.