The Suez Canal ( In Arabic: Qanat as-Suways ), is an artificial sea-level waterway running north to south across the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt to connect the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. The canal separates the African continent from Asia, and it provides the shortest maritime route between Europe and the lands lying around the Indian and western Pacific oceans. It is one of the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes.
The Suez Canal is one of the most important waterways in the world.
The canal is extensively used by modern ships , as it is the fastest crossing from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean . Tolls paid by the vessels represent an important source of income for the Egyptian government.
Railway and a sweet water canal are run on the west bank parallel to the Suez Canal .
The Canal runs between Port Said harbor and the Gulf of Suez , through soils which vary according to the region. At Port Said and the surrounding area, the soil is composed over thousands of years of silt and clay sedimentation deposited by the Nile waters drifted by Damietta branch. This formation extends to Kantara, 40 km to the south of Port Said , where silt mixes with sand. The central region of the Canal between Kantara and Kabret consists of fine and coarse sands, while the southern region contains dispersed layers of rocks, varying in texture from soft sand to some calcium rocks, The side gradient of the water cross section differs according to the nature of the soil, which is 4:1 in the north and 3:1 in the south.
The Suez Canal is a sea level Canal and the height of water level differs slightly and the extreme tidal range is 65 cm in the north and 1.9 m in the south. The banks of the Canal are protected against the wash and waves, generated by the transit of ships, by revetments of hard stones and steel sheet piles corresponding to the nature of soil in every area. On both sides of the Canal, there are mooring bollards every 125 m for the mooring of vessel in case of emergency, and kilometric sign posts helping locate the position of ships in the waterway. The navigable channel is bordered by light and reflecting buoys as navigational aids to night traffic.
Importance of the Suez Canal
The Suez Canal is considered to be the shortest link between the east and the west due to its unique geographic location; it is an important international navigation canal linking between the Mediterranean sea at Port said and the red sea at Suez .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 than 80 % of the world trade volume is transported via waterways (seaborne trade).
Advantages of the Suez Canal
- It is the longest canal in the world without locks.
- The accidents are almost nil compared with other waterways.
- Navigation goes day and night.
- The Canal is liable to be widened and deepened when required, to cope with the development in ship sizes and tonnages.
- With the adoption of the Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS) ( a system depending upon the most up-to-date radar network), vessels can be monitored and followed on every spot of the Canal and intervention in emergency cases can be taken.
- The Suez Canal accommodates the partially loaded VLCCs and ULCCs.
Know More at: