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Shipping Canal: Suez Canal

Posted in Shipping Canal - 26 Apr 2021, 2:35 PM

Suez Canal

The Suez Canal is the most vital canal in the world. The 193.30 km long canal was officially opened in November 1869. This shipping channel connects the Mediterranean Sea (Port Said) with the Red Sea (Gulf of Suez). Located west of the Sinai Peninsula, its presence is significant for the world’s maritime sector, especially for the export-import trade. Its shipping route is also one of the most used and busiest in the world.

The Canal route is the shortest between Europe and the region bordering the West Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Because of its importance to the maritime trade operation, the route must be open at all times. When passing through the canal, each ship owner company is obliged to pay a transit fee.

The Operational

Before mid-2015, ships had to cross the canal in convoys and bypasses, as the canal was too narrow for free two-way traffic. Therefore, the ships will sail 40% farther because they have to use bypasses as far as 78 km from a total of 193 km.

Port Said (entrance) bypass 35.5 km available from north to south, Ballah & anchorage bypass 9 km, Timsah bypass 5 km, and Deversoir bypass 27.5 km at the northern end of Great Lake Bitter.

Full operates in 24 hours, the canal capacity is up to 76 standard ships each day. To extend the Suez Canal waterway, Egypt made a major expansion. The construction of the new canal section eventually started from 60 to 95 km, as well as the expansion and deep excavation of another 37 kilometers of the canal.

This effort allows simultaneous two-way navigation along the 72 km in the center of the canal. This two-way extension was inaugurated by President Al-Sisi and began operation on August 6, 2015. Now, the 24 meters deep and 193.3 km long Canal can be passed even by a supertanker with a capacity of up to 217 thousand tons.

Suez Canal Closure

Recorded in history, the Suez Canal was closed twice. The first closure occurred in 1956 during the England-French-Israel feud with Egypt. It was reopened a year later. The second closure took place from 1973 to 1975. At that time, Israel and Egypt signed a ceasefire agreement. Previously, there was a huge battle that caused severe damage.

In March 2021, a giant ship named ‘Ever Given’ loaded with containers got stuck in a single-lane stretch of the canal. It went off the track due to the devastating sandstorm that hit Egypt’s Sinai Desert at that time. Due to the accident, the canal was temporarily closed. One week later, on March 29, 2021, the 400-meter longship was successfully evacuated.

Serving as a transportation route, the canal also helps reduce fuel usage costs as well as effectively saves more time. The canal is the world’s important and busiest sea route, with thousands of cargo ships pass it each year. It is estimated that by 2023 the Suez Canal traffic will increase almost double with two-way circulation and reducing waiting times.

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