Do you know the world’s most heavily used shipping lane?
Also known as Qanat al-Suways (in Arabic language) is one of the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes.
Before i get into the detailed information here’s a quick FAQ.
- What did you know about the Canal?
- Who owns the Suez Canal?
- Its facts, purpose, who built it? What’s the purpose?
- How much money did it take?
- Heard about the Suez Crisis?
Did you know any of this? if you do, that’s awesome. But if you don’t then keep on reading to know more!
…..And for those who knows any of the answers…also stick around for some shocking revelations!
About the Canal
To begin with, Suez Canal is a sea-level waterway in the country of Egypt. What does it do? The Canal joins the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea which makes it the heaviest shipping lane.
Also, it offers shortest maritime route between Europe and the areas around the Indian and the western Pacific oceans.
When was it constructed? This 120 miles huge canal was constructed in between the years 1859 and 1869.
Who constructed it? The Suez Canal Company. However, it was officially started on 17 November 1869.
Initially, the canal was 26 feet deep, 72 feet wide at the bottom and 200-300 feet wide at the surface. This caused many problems as huge ships could not pass it.
After many changes, the Canal was finally 179 feet deep. Now, the ships could pass by easily.
The canal was closed during the time of Arab-Israeli war. It was no longer in use. However, it was reopened until June 1975.
Recently, in the year 2015 the Government of Egypt spent nearly $8.5 BILLION to improve the canal!! And again 18 miles were added to its original length 102 miles.
Surprisingly, the canal did not have a two-way traffic. The ships would stop so that the other ships could pass-by easily. Because of this it took 40 hours (on average) but by 1939, it was decreased to 13 hours.
However, again in the year 1947, it went up to 15 hours due to a system of convoys. But thankfully, with some improvement, it came back between 11 to 16 hours.
Fact: In August 2015, a brand new 22 mile expansion was made along the main canal that allowed a two-way transit through the canal.
Shockingly, when Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser was introduced with Soviet Union, United States and United Kingdom broke their promise of supporting the construction of the Aswan High Dam.
The Suez Canal was owned and operated by the British and French since 1869. But then, Gamal announced the ‘Suez Canal Company’.
His aim was to finance the dam from the revenue of the Aswan Dam. This led to Suez Crisis in which the countries UK, France and Israel conquered Egypt.
After the announcement, the Israeli armed forces entered Egypt towards the area of Suez Canal. The British and French also joined them.
This brought Soviet Union into the picture and it damaged the relationship with United States. However, in late 1956 and early 1957, the French, British and Israeli removed their forces. And the Suez crisis came to an end.