Importance of the Canal

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Saving in distance via the Canal and the Cape:

From To


 ( Nautical  miles ) 

SC Cape Mile %
Ras Tanura Constanza 4144 12094 7950 66%
Lavera 4684 10783 6099 57%
Rotterdam 6436 11169 4733 42%
New Orleans 9645 12299 2654 22%
Jeddah Rotterdam 1320 11207 9887 88%
Rotterdam 6337 10743 4406 42%
Tokyo Rotterdam 11192 14507 3315 23%
Singapore Rotterdam 8288 11755 3647 29%


Advantages of Suez Canal

  • Longest Canal in world with no locks
  • Percentage of accidents is almost nil Compared with other waterways.
  • Navigation goes day and night.
  • Liable to be widened and deepened when required to cope with the expansion in ship size.
  • The VTMS (Vessel Traffic Management System) has been introduced. It is a very accurate electronic system envisaging a most up to date radar network.
  • The Suez Canal can now accommodate all mammoth tanker in service on their ballast trips.
  • Importance of the Suez Canal

  • The unique geographical position of the Suez Canal makes it of special importance to the world and to Egypt as well.
  • This importance is getting augmented with the evolution of maritime transport and world trade.
  • The maritime transport is the cheapest means of transport, whereas more 80% of the world trade volume is transported by means of sea routes.
  • Saving in time and in operation costs for vessels that transit the Canal, also consolidate this importance.

    Historical Outline

    Egypt was the first country to dig a man–made canal across its lands to connect the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea via the River Nile and its branches, and the first who dug it was Senausret III, pharaoh of Egypt (1874 B.C.) This Canal was abandoned to silting and reopened several times as follows:

  • Canal fo Sity I: 1310 B.C.
  • Canal of Nkhaw: 610 B.C.
  • Canal of Darius I: 510 B.C.
  • Canal of Ptolemy II: 285 B.C.
  • Canal of the Romans: 117 B.C.
  • Canal of Amir El Moemeneen: 640 A.D.

    Following the Islamic conquest and remained open for 150 years.

  • The Suez Canal is actually the first Canal directly linking the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.  It was opened for international navigation on 17 November 1869.
  • Egypt nationalized its Canal on 26 July 1956.
  • The Canal was closed five times, the last time was most serious since it lasted for 8 years.
  • The Canal was then reopened for navigation on 5 Jun 1975.

    Characteristics of the Present Canal

    Overall Length 190.25km
    From the fairway buoy to Port-Said lighthouse 19.50km
    From the waiting area to the southern entrance 8.50km
    From Port-Said to Ismailia 78.50km
    From Ismailia to Port-Tewfik 83.75km
    The length of double parts 78km
    Width at water level (North / South) 345 / 280m
    Width between buoys (North / South) 210 / 195m
    Maximum permissible draught for ships 62ft
    Cross sectional area (North/South)   4800 / 4350m2
    Maximum deadweight tonnage 210000tons
    Permissible speed for loaded Tankers 14km/hr
    Permissible speed for ballast Tankers and ships 13km/hr