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The Suez Canal

The Suez Canal

The Suez Canal is an artificial waterway connecting the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

Geography

Keywords

Suez Canal, Szuez, channel, Egypt, Mediterranean Sea, water transport, routes, Red Sea, trade, shipping, freight transport, Africa, network, logistics, transport, commerce, node, tarnsport capacity, global, economy, technology, Europe, Earth, transportation, human geography, society, geography

Related items

Scenes

Maritime choke points

  • Øresund
  • Bosphorus
  • Suez Canal
  • Strait of Hormuz
  • Bab el-Mandeb
  • Strait of Malacca
  • Panama Canal
  • Cape of Good Hope
  • Cape Horn
  • Strait of Gibraltar
  • English Channel
  • Africa
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Australia
  • North America
  • South America
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Indian Ocean

The Suez Canal is a 192-km-long artificial waterway located in present-day Egypt.

The canal was built between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to shorten shipping routes between Asia and Europe.

The idea of building a canal emerged as early as the reign of the Egyptian pharaohs. In the 19th century BC, a canal was constructed between the Nile and the Red Sea which then used to lay further north. By the 7th century BC, this canal disappeared because of the dry climate of the region at the time. Like the present-day canal, the construction of a canal running north to south began in the 6th century BC, and it reached the Red Sea by the 3rd century BC. The canal, which had been neglected and restored several times, became silted up by the end of the 8th century AD.

After almost a thousand years, the French, led by Ferdinand de Lesseps, began to build the current Suez Canal in 1859. Construction was completed ten years later, in 1869. The canal was under British control from 1882 to 1956, when it was nationalised by Egypt. The Suez Canal was closed from 1967 to 1975 because of the Arab–Israeli conflict. The expansion of the canal began in 2014. The creation of a new canal and the deepening and widening of the existing one made two-way traffic possible. Transit times also shortened from 18 hours to 11 hours.

Suez Canal

  • Port Said
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Cairo
  • Nile Delta
  • Ismailia
  • Lake Timsah
  • Great Bitter Lake
  • Sahara
  • Arabian Desert
  • Suez
  • Red Sea
  • shipping route

Timeline

  • 19th century BC
  • 7th century BC
  • 6th–3rd centuries BC
  • 8th century AD
  • 1869
  • 2015
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Nile
  • Red Sea
  • Canal of the Pharaohs (E-W)
  • Lake Timsah
  • Great Bitter Lake
  • Canal of the Pharaohs (N-S)
  • Suez Canal
  • expanded Suez Canal

Side view

  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Lake Timsah
  • Great Bitter Lake
  • Red Sea

The Suez Canal does not follow a straight line; it flows through several lakes. It is one of the world's longest waterways with no lock system.

The canal is more than 20 metres deep; at a depth of 11 metres it is at least 200 metres wide, but it is continually being deepened and widened. The constant dredging of the canal is indispensable due to frequent sandstorms in the region.

Alternative routes

  • Øresund
  • Bosphorus
  • Suez Canal
  • Strait of Hormuz
  • Bab el-Mandeb
  • Strait of Malacca
  • Panama Canal
  • Cape of Good Hope
  • Cape Horn
  • Strait of Gibraltar
  • English Channel
  • Africa
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Australia
  • North America
  • South America
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Indian Ocean
  • Jebel Ali
  • Piraeus
  • Suez Canal
  • Cape of Good Hope
  • Rotterdam
  • Singapore
  • Hong Kong
  • New York
  • Panama Canal
  • 6,780 km
  • 21,670 km
  • 15,580 km
  • 22,110 km
  • 21,800 km
  • 22,680 km

Without the canal, journeys between Asia and Europe would be thousands of kilometres longer since ships would have to travel all the way around Africa. Shipping routes from Asia to the east coast of America are also shorter through the Suez Canal than through the Panama Canal.

Data

  • Main trade routes
  • Traffic
  • Vessel types

Routes

The Suez Canal is one of the busiest and most important artificial waterways in the world. It is Egypt's main source of income. Most of the vessels transiting it travel between Asia and Europe, but ships from all the other continents also pass through the canal.

Traffic

There are about 18,000–20,000 ships transiting the Suez Canal each year. This constitutes about 10% of all seaborne trade. Although the number of vessels passing through the canal has been stagnating since the late 2000s, the amount of cargo is constantly increasing thanks to the growing cargo capacity of ships.

Vessel types

It is mostly container ships that pass through the Suez Canal. However, the number of oil tankers and dry bulk carriers is also significant. Ships transit the canal in convoys; on an average day, there are two convoys travelling south and one travelling north.

Animation

  • Øresund
  • Bosphorus
  • Suez Canal
  • Strait of Hormuz
  • Bab el-Mandeb
  • Strait of Malacca
  • Panama Canal
  • Cape of Good Hope
  • Cape Horn
  • Strait of Gibraltar
  • English Channel
  • Africa
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Australia
  • North America
  • South America
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Indian Ocean
  • Jebel Ali
  • Piraeus
  • Suez Canal
  • Cape of Good Hope
  • Rotterdam
  • Singapore
  • Hong Kong
  • New York
  • Panama Canal
  • 6,780 km
  • 21,670 km
  • 15,580 km
  • 22,110 km
  • 21,800 km
  • 22,680 km
  • Port Said
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Cairo
  • Nile Delta
  • Ismailia
  • Lake Timsah
  • Great Bitter Lake
  • Sahara
  • Arabian Desert
  • Suez
  • Red Sea
  • shipping route
  • 19th century BC
  • 7th century BC
  • 6th–3rd centuries BC
  • 8th century AD
  • 1869
  • 2015
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Nile
  • Red Sea
  • Canal of the Pharaohs (E-W)
  • Lake Timsah
  • Great Bitter Lake
  • Canal of the Pharaohs (N-S)
  • Suez Canal
  • expanded Suez Canal
  • Main trade routes
  • Americas 4%
  • East Africa 0.2%
  • Australia 0.3%
  • North and West Europe 14%
  • Southern Europe 31%
  • Asia 50.5%
  • Traffic
  • 1975
  • 1980
  • 1990
  • 2000
  • 2010
  • 2016
  • number of transits
  • 0
  • 5,000
  • 10,000
  • 15,000
  • 20,000
  • 25,000
  • capacity (thousand tonnes)
  • 0
  • 200
  • 400
  • 600
  • 800
  • 1,000
  • Vessel types
  • 39.96%
  • 26.42%
  • 19.89%
  • 8.21%
  • 4%
  • 1.49%
  • 0.03%

Narration

The Suez Canal is a 192-km-long artificial waterway located in present-day Egypt.

The canal was built between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to shorten shipping routes between Asia and Europe.

The idea of building a canal emerged as early as the reign of the Egyptian pharaohs. In the 19th century BC, a canal was constructed between the Nile and the Red Sea which then used to lay further north. By the 7th century BC, this canal disappeared because of the dry climate of the region at the time. Like the present-day canal, the construction of a canal running north to south began in the 6th century BC, and it reached the Red Sea by the 3rd century BC. The canal, which had been neglected and restored several times, became silted up by the end of the 8th century AD.

After almost a thousand years, the French, led by Ferdinand de Lesseps, began to build the current Suez Canal in 1859. Construction was completed ten years later, in 1869. The canal was under British control from 1882 to 1956, when it was nationalised by Egypt. The Suez Canal was closed from 1967 to 1975 because of the Arab–Israeli conflict. The expansion of the canal began in 2014. The creation of a new canal and the deepening and widening of the existing one made two-way traffic possible. Transit times also shortened from 18 hours to 11 hours.

The Suez Canal does not follow a straight line; it flows through several lakes. It is one of the world's longest waterways with no lock system.

The canal is more than 20 metres deep; at a depth of 11 metres it is at least 200 metres wide, but it is continually being deepened and widened. The constant dredging of the canal is indispensable due to frequent sandstorms in the region.

Without the canal, journeys between Asia and Europe would be thousands of kilometres longer since ships would have to travel all the way around Africa. Shipping routes from Asia to the east coast of America are also shorter through the Suez Canal than through the Panama Canal.

Routes

The Suez Canal is one of the busiest and most important artificial waterways in the world. It is Egypt's main source of income. Most of the vessels transiting it travel between Asia and Europe, but ships from all the other continents also pass through the canal.

Traffic

There are about 18,000–20,000 ships transiting the Suez Canal each year. This constitutes about 10% of all seaborne trade. Although the number of vessels passing through the canal has been stagnating since the late 2000s, the amount of cargo is constantly increasing thanks to the growing cargo capacity of ships.

Vessel types

It is mostly container ships that pass through the Suez Canal. However, the number of oil tankers and dry bulk carriers is also significant. Ships transit the canal in convoys; on an average day, there are two convoys travelling south and one travelling north.

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