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Port of Suez / El Suez (Bur El Suweis)
2958N 3233E

The port of Suez is situated at the southern end of the Suez Canal, forming the Northern Port of Suez Bay, approx. 170km S of Port Said, and 120 km. East of Cairo. The Suez bay is sheltered except from the South, providing a waiting anchorage area for vessels. The port consists of Port Ibrahim, providing berths for general cargo and passenger vessels; New Harbour, where facilities for tankers and livestock vessels are situated. Port Tewfik is used to accommodate passenger ships and vessels transiting Suez Canal.

Thanks to its strategic geographical location, the Suez Canal is a main artery of world transportation, as it links the east to the west through four major oceans and seas: the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, further linked to the Pacific Ocean. Vessels are piloted between Port Said Harbor and Port of Suez by Canal pilots who are relieved at Ismailia.

The 195 km-long Suez Canal is considered the world's third longest navigation channel next to south Lawrence passage in North America and the maritime channel at the Baltic Sea in Russia. The Suez is just a big ditch with a lake in the middle as the halfway point. The Suez is about 100 miles long, running north south between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. The Med and the Red Sea are similar in water level so there are no locks between the seas. The Suez Canal can accommodate huge vessels of 500 meters long, 70 meters wide and a draft of 70 feet.

Since its inauguration in 1869, the canal has played an increasingly great role in bringing prosperity and progress to Egypt and the world. About 18,000 vessels belonging to more than 70 different nationalities, transporting 400 million tons of cargo, transit through the canal.

The idea of linking the Mediterranean and Red sea first occurred during the Pharaonic age. Pharaohs were pioneers in this sphere They dug a canal linking both seas through the eastern branch of the Nile Delta. Later the canal was neglected until the Greeks, followed by the Romans dug it several times but it was again neglected. The canal was dug once again at the time of the Arab conquest of Egypt. It continued to exist for scores of years but was later filled up.

During the French campaign of 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte thought of linking the two seas directly by means of a navigation canal, but engineers did not support the idea of believing that the Red Sea level is nine meters higher than that of the Mediterranean.

On November 30, 1854 the French engineer Ferdinand De-lesseps managed to sign a concession with the Egyptian government to dig the Suez Canal. On April 25, 1859 the digging of the Canal began and continued for ten years. More than 2.4 million Egyptian workers took part, of which more than 125.000 lost their lives. On November 17, 1869 the Suez Canal was opened for navigation.

The Suez Canal has a strategic location. It links two oceans and two seas the Atlantic and Mediterranean via Gibraltar to Port Said, and the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea via Bab Al Mandab and the Gulf of Suez to the port of Suez. It is the longest Canal that has no locks, it can be widened and deepened at any time when necessary

In July 1956, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal after it had been an international company for about 87 years.

The Suez Canal's strategic importance lies in the fact that it is essential for world trade. It transports 14% of the total world trade, 26% of oil exports, 41% of the total volume of goods and cargo that reach Arab Gulf ports. The Suez Canal shortens considerably the distance between East and West, for instance, 86% of the distance between the Saudi Port of Jeddah to the Black Sea port of Canstanza is saved if compared to the route round the Cape of Good Hope. The distance between Tokyo (Japan) and Rotterdam (Holland) is shortened by 23 % if it goes round Africa.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:55:40 ZULU