SUETSK CANAL – BORDER BETWEEN TWO MATERICS
The Suez Canal is an artificial sea route in Egypt that separates Eurasia from Africa. For nearly 150 years, it has been used for the shortest transportation of goods from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean.
Suez Canal on the map is very easy to find. It connects the Mediterranean with the Red. On the one side of the Suez Canal is the port city of Port Said (on the Mediterranean coast), and on the other – Suez (on the Red Sea coast). He “cuts” the narrowest part of the Suez Isthmus.
Since 1956, the Suez Canal has been wholly owned by Egypt. Prior to that, it was owned by the General Organization of the Suez Canal, owned by France and England.
In various sources you can find different information about the length, width and depth of the Suez Canal. According to the latest data, its length, including approach areas and the road, is approximately 193 kilometers. Throughout its length, the Suez Canal has an unequal width and depth. According to official information at a depth of 11 meters, the width is 205-225 meters. In 2010, the maximum depth was 24 meters.
The rules and price of navigation is determined by Egypt. Its budget largely depends on the Suez Canal, because every year the profit from the use of this waterway is about five billion dollars. Passing through the Suez Canal is the most preferable for shipowners, since when using an alternative route that goes around Africa, the distance increases by 8 thousand kilometers, respectively, there is a big loss of time. In addition, there is a chance to run into Somali pirates. The cost of passage through the channel depends on the weight of the vessel, the draft of the vessel, the height of the cargo on deck, the filing date of the application and other factors, and amounts to 8-12 dollars per ton. The total cost of passing a ship with a large cargo can reach a million dollars.
ROLE OF CHANNEL IN EGYPT’S LIFE
The Suez Canal is of great importance for the global freight transportation market. About 20% of all transported oil is transported through it and about 10% of all world trade cargo transportation is carried out. In addition, tourists from all over the world come to see and take photos on the Suez Canal, which also contributes to an increase in the budget of Egypt.
MODERNIZATION OF SUETSK CHANNEL
After the Suez Canal became owned by Egypt, the government began to consider its expansion as one of its main tasks, because its initial depth was 8 meters and its width – 21 meters.Now the government plans to create a new channel, which will be held next to the main one. Its length will be 72 kilometers. This will make it possible to extract even greater profits due to an increase in the passability of the channel. The expansion should reduce the waiting time for a journey to three hours (now it is 11 hours) and increase the number of vessels sailing through the channel three times. In addition, there will be a huge number of new jobs. It is planned to spend several billion dollars for expansion.
Due to the high cost of passing the owners of transport vessels are looking for alternative ways of transporting goods. The government of Israel offered to build a workaround on its territory. This is the so-called “shunting” of the channel. However, this route cannot be made completely water, so the plans include the construction of a railway line between the city of Eilat and the Mediterranean coast.
Rosatomflot also proposed replacing the Suez Canal. Presumably, the Northern Sea Route, which connects Europe with Asia, can be used as a substitute. Due to the melting of the Arctic ice, this path is open for a longer time and, possibly, in the near future, it will be possible to transport cargo through the territory of Russia.
The idea of laying the shortest path to the waters of the Red Sea had been visiting Egyptians many centuries ago. The first attempts were undertaken by the Theban pharaohs in the era of the Middle Kingdom. They wanted to connect the Red Sea with one of the tributaries of the Nile.
The history of the creation of the channel itself began at the end of VII – the beginning of the VI century BC. The evidence of Herodotus was found, which say that Pharaoh Necho II began construction, but Darius built the canal until the end I century later. Things did not go very well. Reconstruction of the path occurred in the III century BC under the leadership of Ptolemy II Philadelphus. The deepening of the canal happened several centuries later on the orders of Emperor Trajan, during his reign in Africa. In the VIII century (in the period of the conquest of Egypt by the Arabs), despite the fact that this transport route was actively used, it was bombarded.
In 1854, the French businessman Ferdinand de Lesseps decides to resume the history of the Suez Canal. Since at that moment France had a great influence in Egypt, he was allowed to launch this process. The construction works started in 1859, the canal was opened 10 years later. A large number of Egyptian residents were involved in forced labor.