SUEZ CANAL also known as Mediterranean or Asiatic route as it links the far east that is Asia with Europe. The canal was opened in 1869 having been funded by the Great Britain and Egypt.
The major aims for its construction were:
- To create a life line for Britain through transportation of her manufactured products to the far east.
- To cheaply transport the raw materials from its colonies of Britain including those of far east Africa as well as far east.
- To bring about effective control and administration of British colonies found in East Africa and the far east.
- To shorten the distance that was once covered around the cape of good hope from North America and North of Europe to the far east.
The Suez canal is 163 kilometers long ten meters deep and between 60-65 meters wide and the travelling time from port Said to port Suez in South Africa is 12 hours however there are plans to widen and deepen the canal so as to allow large ocean going vessels to pass through easily.
The canal has no locks due to the flat terrain however there is one shipping lane with passing areas in Baclah bi-pass near elquantara and in the great bitter lake. Ships are allowed to sail and at a low speed that is around the knots (15km/hr). the low speed helps to prevent erosion of the canal banks by the ships. A railway line on the west bank of the canal moves parallel to it for its entire length. The canal is managed by the Suez canal authority with its head quarters at Ismailia.