Suez Canal

The Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Read Sea. The British Empire had the Suez Canal constructed; so, their ships could save time and money using this shorter route.

The Suez Canal, when it was made, was 100 miles long and the first canal to link the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The Suez Canal has been enlarged in recent years and is now 120 miles long. The Suez Canal is also the longest canal in the world that does not have locks.

The Suez Canal’s Checkered History

The Company owned and operated the Suez Canal for several years. However, because the owners incurred losses as the traffic and revenue generated were not as much as the company had anticipated, the owner of the Suez Canal Company sold his shares to the British. The French however, continued to be its major stakeholders.

The Suez Canal has been at the center of several disputes and has been closed five times in the last 140 years of its existence. The last time the Suez Canal was closed, it was for 8 long years.

Now the Suez Canal Authority owns and maintains the Suez Canal. However, an international treaty states that the Suez Canal may be used “in time of war as in time of peace, by every vessel of commerce or of war, without distinction of flag.”

Suez Canal

Suez Canal Information

Original Owner Suez Canal Company (Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez)
Construction Began April 1859
Date Completed November 1869
Locks 0
Status Open
Navigation Authority Suez Canal Authority

Characteristics of the Current Suez Canal

Overall length 193 km
From the fairway buoy to Port Said lighthouse 22.5 km
From the waiting area to the southern entrance 15 km
From Port Said to Ismailia 78.5 km
From Ismailia to Port Tawfik 83.65 km
The length of doubled parts 68 km
Width at water level 300/365 m
Width between buoys 180/205 m
Maximum permissible draught for ships 68 ft.
The canal depth 21m
Maximum permissible air draft 68 m
Cross sectional area 4500/4800 m2

The Construction of the Suez Canal

The Universal Suez Ship Canal Company, an Egyptian corporation, constructed the Suez Canal. The construction was started in the year 1859. The Suez Canal took 10 years and the labor of thousands of men before it was finally ready in the year 1869. The Suez Canal was opened for International Navigation on November 17, 1869.

The City of Suez

The city of Suez is the second-largest port city of Egypt. It is a hundred kilometers away from Cairo and home to the Suez Canal. Its historical significance notwithstanding, it is a perfect short getaway from Egypt, especially if you are a seafood lover. A good meal of fish here would cost you half as much as what it would cost you in Cairo! Then there are the friendly locals, the pre-war houses and the view of the sea. Sitting by the Suez Canal and watching the ships go by could be the prefect way to end a lazy day.

City of Suez Coordinates: 29°58′N 32°33′E
Country  Egypt
Governorate Suez
City of Suez Government
 - Governor Saif Al-Din Galal
Elevation 16 ft (5 m)
City of Suez Population (2004)
 - Total 478,553
Time Zone EST (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) +3 (UTC)

Development of Suez Canal

ITEM UNIT 1869 1956 1962 1980 1994 1996 2001 2008 Percentage increase  (1869-2001)
WIDTH AT 11M DEPTH M 44 60 90 160 210 210 210 210 477%
MAX DRAFT OF SHIPS FEET 22 35 38 53 56 58 62 68 282%
OVERALL LENGTH KM 164 175 175 190.25 190.25 190.25 190.25 190.25 116%
DOUBLED PARTS KM  - 29 29 78 78 78 78 78 269%
WATER DEPTH M 10 14 15.5 19.5 20.5 21 22.5 23.5 225%
CROSS SECTIONAL AREA M2 304 1100 1800 3600 4300 4500 4800 4800 1579%
MAX. TONNAGE (DWT) TON 5000 30,000 80,000 150,000 180,000 185,000 210,000 210.000 4200%

Advantages of the Suez Canal

From To Distance (N. Miles) Saving %
Ras Tanura Constantza 4,144 12,094 66
Lavera 4,684 10,783 57
Rotterdam 6,436 11,169 42
New York 8,281 11,794 30
Jeddah Piraeus 1,320 11,207 88
Jeddah Liverpool  3,902 10,702 63.5
Bombay Rotterdam 6,337 10,743 41
Bombay Marseille  4,558 10,362 56
Shanghahai  Genoa  8,670 13,619 36.3