Port Said | Egypt
The Suez Canal is a major waterway, deemed to be of greatest strategic and commercial importance at international level since it allows the navigation between Europe and Asia (and vice versa) without having to circumnavigate Africa along the Cape of Good Hope route.
The Canal was built in ten years, between 1859 and 1869, by a French company (Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez), although traces of waterways in that area date back to the ancient Egypt era. It consists of two different sections: the northern one, from Port Said to the Great Bitter Lake, south of Ismailia, and the southern one connecting the lake to Suez.
The canal measured 164 km in length and 53 m in width; the depth of 8 meters allowed the transit of ships with maximum draught of 6.7 m. At the end of 2010, as a result of expansion works, its length reached 193.3 km, its width rose to 205-225 meters and the depth was increased to 24 meters, enabling the transit of ships with draught up to 20.12 m.
In August 2014, the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated the commencement of works for the doubling of a part of the Canal. Thanks to this expansion, 97 ships, without limits of dimension, will be able to transit on a daily basis along the waterway, against the current 49. In addition to canal works, the project launched by the Egyptian President includes, as well, the upgrading of road and railway networks and the expansion and construction of 5 trading ports in the Port Said Area.