Traffic jam in the Suez Canal


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Suez Canal

Mains level : Not Much

A massive cargo ship has turned sideways in Egypt’s Suez Canal, blocking traffic in a crucial East-West waterway for global shipping.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Between India and East Asia, the navigation time and distance can be greatly reduced by which of the following?

  1. Deepening the Malacca straits between Malaysia and Indonesia.
  2. Opening a new canal across the Kra isthmus between the Gulf of Siam and Andaman sea.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Suez Canal

  • The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Isthmus of Suez; and dividing Africa and Asia.
  • Constructed by the Suez Canal Company between 1859 and 1869, it officially opened on 17 November 1869.
  • The canal was earlier controlled by British and French interests in its initial years but was nationalized in 1956 by Egypt’s then leader Gamal Abdel Nasser.
  • It extends from the northern terminus of Port Said to the southern terminus of Port Tewfik at the city of Suez.
  • Its length is 193.30 km including its northern and southern access channels.

Its significance

  • The Suez Canal provides a crucial link for oil, natural gas and cargo being shipping from East to West.
  • It provides a major shortcut for ships moving between Europe and Asia, who before its construction had to sail around Africa to complete the same journey.
  • Around 10 % of the world’s trade flows through the waterway and it remains one of Egypt’s top foreign currency earners.
  • As per a report, the canal is a major source of income for Egypt’s economy, with the African country earning $5.61 billion in revenues from it last year.

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