The Suez Canal was officially opened to navigation in 1869 and is a sea-level waterway without locks. Located in Egypt, it passes through the Isthmus of Suez to connect the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea and is the closest route from Europe to the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific.
As the border between Asia and Africa, the canal starts from Port Said in the north to Suez City in the south and digs into the Mediterranean Sea north of Port Said to the south of Suez. Completing the Suez Canal turned the African peninsula into the African continent, Egypt straddled Asia and Africa, and trade in Southwest Asia, Northeast Africa, and Southern Europe became busier.
The Suez Canal is one of the busiest sea routes in the world. From March 23 to 29, 2021, a Panamanian-flagged heavy cargo ship ran aground in the new channel of the Suez Canal, causing congestion in the channel. A new study by German insurance company Allianz shows that the blockade of the Suez Canal caused by the stranding could cost global trade between $6 billion and $10 billion daily.
History of The Suez Canal
The ancient Suez Canal may have been excavated as far back as the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt; Senusret III, whose name is the source of the word "Suez," ordered the excavation of an "east-west" canal linking the Red Sea with the Nile. There is evidence that the ancient canal was continuously improved, destroyed, and rebuilt over the next thousand years until it was finally abandoned in the 8th century AD for the Abbasid Caliph al-Mansur of the Arab Empire. After that, it was opened for two long periods during the Roman of King Trajan in 117 BC and the period of Umar ibn Khattab in 640 AD.
The survey of the Isthmus of Suez was not first carried out until the French occupation of Egypt (1798-1801), and Napoleon himself studied the remains of the ancient canal. On December 15, 1858, the Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez was founded. It took nearly 11 years for French colonists forced the Egyptians through the desert to dig the canal. Engineering overcomes many technical, political, and financial problems. It cost a whopping £18.6 million, more than double the original budget. The canal was opened to navigation on November 17, 1869, a day designated as Remembrance Day. The Suez Canal has been closed several times due to historical wars, proving its important strategic location. The waterway has influenced global history over the past two centuries, especially in the Middle East.
The Suez Canal Size
After the first phase of the expansion project of the Suez Canal in December 1980, the canal has a total length of 193 kilometers, a width of 365 meters, a depth of 16 meters, and a double line of 68 kilometers. The Suez Canal is an open cut, without locks, and, though extensive straight lengths occur, there are eight major bends.
In 2021, the Egyptian President approved the Suez Canal Authority's plan to widen the southern section of the canal, which is expected to be completed within two years. The widening plan mainly covers about 30 kilometers of the waterway, which will be widened by 40 meters, and the maximum depth will be about 22 meters. After the completion of the plan, the waterway of the southern section of the Suez Canal will have two-way traffic capacity and improve the traffic efficiency of the canal.
|Length||193 km (120 miles)|
|Max. depth||16 m|
|Max. width||365 m|
|Max. boat beam||77.5 m (254 ft 3 in)|
|Max. boat draft||20.1 m (66 ft)|
Opened in 1869, the Suez Canal ensures the passage of 10 percent of international maritime trade, and about 19,000 ships pass through the Suez Canal in 2020, according to the Suez Canal Authority. The Suez Canal is an essential income for Egypt, with an annual income of about $5 billion. Over the decades, due to its strategic importance, the canal has witnessed many historical changes and social developments. The history of the Suez Canal is recorded in documents, books, photographs, paintings, etc., which are scattered among different institutions in different countries, such as the Suez Canal Authority in Egypt, the Suez Corporation, and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, and the National Archives in Paris.