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About The Suez Canal


Recently, a tanker transporting crude oil broke down in a single-lane part of Egypt’s Suez Canal, briefly disrupting traffic in the global waterway.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Suez Canal
  2. History
  3. Importance

Suez Canal

  • The Suez Canal is a vital international shipping route that connects Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean through the Egyptian city of Suez on the Red Sea.
  • It allows vessels to travel between Europe and Asia without the need to navigate around the African continent.
Geographical Location:
  • The canal is located in northeastern Egypt, spanning the Isthmus of Suez.
  • It stretches approximately 120 miles (193 kilometers) from Port Said in the north to Suez in the south.
  • It separates the African continent from the Sinai Peninsula.


  • The concept of a canal across the Isthmus of Suez dates back to ancient times, but significant efforts to construct it took place in the 19th century.
  • The canal was opened for international navigation in 1869, with the Universal Suez Ship Canal Company, largely owned by the French and British, overseeing its construction.
  • The canal was under British control until 1956 when Egypt nationalized it during the Suez Crisis.
  • It was reopened for international navigation in 1957 under the management of the Suez Canal Authority.


International Trade:

  • The canal handles a significant portion of global trade, including 12% of world trade, 7% of the world’s oil, and 30% of container ship traffic daily.
  • It provides a direct route between Europe and Asia, reducing fuel costs and transportation expenses, thereby facilitating cheaper international trade.

Energy Security:

  • Due to its strategic location, the canal plays a crucial role in transporting crude oil and other hydrocarbons from countries like Saudi Arabia to Europe and North America.

Egypt’s Economy:

  • The canal contributes about 2% to Egypt’s GDP, making it a significant source of revenue.
  • In 2022, the revenue from the canal reached $8 billion, indicating its economic importance for Egypt.

India’s Trade and Energy Security:

  • The Suez Canal is a major route for Indian trade worth $200 billion to/from North America, South America, and Europe.
  • It facilitates the import and export of ethane with the US and crude imports from Latin America, playing a crucial role in India’s energy security.
  • It enables the Indian Navy to project its presence in the region and participate in global naval operations, highlighting its strategic significance for India.

-Source: The Hindu

April 2024