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Suez Canal – ATA Arab Travel Agency
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Suez Canal

Is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction, it allows ships to travel between Europe and South Asia without navigating around Africa thereby reducing the sea voyage distance between Europe and India by about 7,000 kilometres (4,300 mi) .

The northern terminus is Port Said; the southern terminus is Port Tewfik at the city of Suez. Ismailia is on its west bank, 3 km (1.9 mi) from the half-way point. In 2012, 17,225 vessels traversed the canal (47 per day). When built, the canal was 164 km (102 mi) long and 8 m (26 ft) deep. After several enlargements, it is 193.30 km (120.11 mi) long, 24 m (79 ft) deep and 205 metres (673 ft) wide. It consists of the northern access channel of 22 km (14 mi), the canal itself of 162.25 km (100.82 mi) and the southern access channel of 9 km (5.6 mi).

The canal is single lane with passing places in the “Ballah By-Pass” and the Great Bitter Lake. It contains no locks; seawater flows freely through it. In general, the canal north of the Bitter Lakes flows north in winter and south in summer. The current south of the lakes changes with the tide at Suez.

When built, the canal was 164 km (102 mi) long and 8 m (26 ft) deep. After several enlargements, it is 193.30 km (120.11 mi) long, 24 m (79 ft) deep and 205 metres (673 ft) wide.  It consists of the northern access channel of 22 km (14 mi), the canal itself of 162.25 km (100.82 mi) and the southern access channel of 9 km (5.6 mi).  In the summer of 2014, months after taking office as President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ordered the expansion of the Ballah Bypass from 61 metres wide to 312 metres wide for 35 kilometers. The project was called the New Suez Canal, as it would allow ships to transit the canal in both directions simultaneously.  The project cost more than $8 billion and was completed within one year. Sisi declared the expanded channel open for business in a ceremony on 6 August 2015.  Mærsk Line is the Canal’s biggest customer at 14% (DKK 5 billion) of annual income, but does not expect the traffic increase to be as large as the 9% per year as Egypt sees it. Some analysts expect 3% growth per year .  The so-called New Suez Canal, functional since 6 August 2015, currently has a new parallel canal in the middle part, with its length over 35 km (22 mi). The current parameters of the Suez Canal, including both individual canals of the parallel section are: depth 23 to 24 metres (75 to 79 ft) and width at least 205 to 225 metres (673 to 738 ft) (that width measured at 11 metres (36 ft) of depth).

Good to Know

Country
Egypt
Visa Requirements
Egypt Entry Visa is required For entering Egypt including all Cities.
Languages spoken
Arabic, English
Currency used
Egyptian Pound (EGP), Unites States Dollar (USD), Euro (EUR)
Area (km2)
193 km2

Municipalities

The canal has no locks because of the flat terrain, and the minor sea level difference between each end is inconsequential for shipping.   There is one shipping lane with passing areas in Ballah-Bypass near El Qantara and in the Great Bitter Lake. On a typical day, three convoys transit the canal, two southbound and one northbound. The passage takes between 11 and 16 hours at a speed of around 8 knots (15 km/h; 9 mph). The low speed helps prevent erosion of the banks by ships’ wakes.

As of July 2015, the canal was too narrow for free two-way traffic, so ships pass in convoys and they use bypasses. The by-passes are 78 km (48 mi) out of 193 km (120 mi) (40%). From north to south, they are: Port Said by-pass (entrances) 36.5 km (23 mi), Ballah by-pass & anchorage, 9 km (6 mi), Timsah by-pass 5 km (3 mi), and the Deversoir by-pass (northern end of the Great Bitter Lake) 27.5 km (17 mi). The bypasses were completed in 1980.

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