Suez Canal History, Facts, Importance, Map and New Suez Canal

Get to know about Suez Canal history, history, who built it, what are its important, what it connects and the new Suez Canal.

Firstly, what do we mean by a Canal? A canal is a long, man-made passage of water generally used for irrigation or boat and ship access to bigger water bodies. Often Canal is related to a word ‘channel’, and all its definition is around a tunnel shaped spaces that carry liquid from one place to another.

Suez Canal History

The Suez Canal is an artificial waterway which is in level with sea, situated in Egypt. This connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. It took 10 years to construct and was opened on 17 November 1869.
suez canal history

Back in the year 1854, France told the Pasha of Egypt about building a channel that will benefit ships all over the world. So, does the birth of idea behind building the same and in the year 1854 La Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez organization was formed to construct the
channel. In the year 1956, the channel was nationalized by the Egyptian government.

Suez Canal Importance

It allows ships to travel between Europe and South Asia without crossing around Africa and thereby reducing the sea voyage distance between Europe and India by about 7,000 kilometers. The northern terminal of Suez Canal is named Port Said and the southern terminal as Port Tewfik. Ismailia terminal is on canal’s west bank.  This canal is owned and maintained by the Suez Canal Authority of Egypt.
Read about Panama Canal As Well. In 2014, 17,148 transits were there with an annual tonnage of about 963,000,000 metric tons. In the canal two-way traffic is not permitted. So often, ships would stop at the passing places to allow the passage of ships moving in the other direction. Transit time on an average was then 40 hours, but by year 1939 it was reduced to mere 13 hours.
In the year 1947, a system of convoys was adopted, which was consisting of one north leap and two south leaps per day. Transit time through the canal went up to 15 hours in 1967 despite convoying, reflecting high growth in tanker traffic at that time. With some extension of the canal, range of transit time since was 11 to 16 hours since 1975.

Suez Canal Video

Below is the Suez Canal video showing how the ship transit in this channel and how it looks like in this documentary.

Suez Canal in World Map

Below is the given map of the Suez Canal as how it looks like on the map. It is desert area and thorough which this canal passed, thus reducing the time and distance to great extent.
Suez Canal Map, Suez Canal History
Image Courtesy: Suez Canal

Suez Canal Facts

When built, it was 164 km long and 8 m deep. After several improvement and enlargements, it is now 193.30 km long and 24 m deep and 205 meters wide. The canal is single-lane channel but have two passing places, one is the “Ballah By-Pass” and the other at Great Bitter Lake. Also since There are no stops throughout the canal, thus sea water flows freely through it.
The capacity layout for this canal can be abridged as; the Suez Canal is able to access more traffic and larger ships than the PanamaCanal.  Ships use to offload some part of their cargo onto a boat owned by the canal to reduce their draft, they travel along with the vessels, and then reloading of vessel was done on reaching the other end of the channel.
 In 1870, operation in its first year was such that 486 transits took place that is about less than 2 per day. Approximately 21,250 transits in 1966, that means an average of 58 per day. Increase in terms of tonnage was some 444,000 metric tons in 1870 to about 278,400,000 metric tons. By the mid-1980s the number of transits occurring daily had fallen to an average of 50 with 355,600,000 metric tons net tonnage annually.

Suez Canal Connects

The opening of the canal has created the first ever salt-water passage between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The currents between the Mediterranean Sea and the middle of the canal at the Bitter Lakes flows north in winter and south in summer despite the fact that the Red Sea is about 1.2 m higher than the Mediterranean sea level.
As the salinity of the lakes gradually became equal with that of the Red Sea the barrier to migrate was impassive, and flora and fauna from the Red Sea had begun to inhabit the eastern Mediterranean. As you know that the Red Sea is much saltier and more poor in nutrient than the Atlantic, so the species of Red Sea have advantages over the Atlantic species as they are in the less salty and nutrient-rich eastern Mediterranean. Suez Canal created an impact on environment. It is not only useful for human but also for the aquatic lives on Earth.

Suez Canal Expansion Plan

In the year 2014, it was decided to increase the width and the depth of the channel so that more and bigger ships can pass through and hence, to increase the traffic through the channel.
As per the experts, the new Suez canal will give Egypt a increase of tariff money from 5 billion dollars are to 15 billion dollars a year. The Suez expansion plan is now complete and is opened for the commercial usage from 6th August 2015.
This was all from the article on Suez Canal.

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