News-CRUX-10     1st January 2024        

Context: Recently, the shipping giant Maersk decided to suspend the passage of its vessels through the Red Sea route for 48 hours in response to fresh attacks by Yemen-based Houthi rebels.

oTwo crucial Choke Points: the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal – threaten to disrupt over a third of global trade.

Suez Canal

  • About: The canal links Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean via the Egyptian city of Suez on the Red Sea, serving as a critical international shipping route.
  • Location: Situated in northeastern Egypt, the Suez Canal stretches across the Isthmus of Suez, covering approximately 120 miles (193 kilometers) from Port Said in the north to Suez in the south.

oIt acts as a geographical separator between the African continent and the Sinai Peninsula.

  • Historical Development: While the idea of a canal across the Isthmus of Suez has ancient origins, significant efforts began in the nineteenth century. 
  • In 1858, the Universal Suez Ship Canal Company, predominantly owned by the French and British, was established to undertake the canal's construction.

Panama Canal

  • About: The Panama Canal, a man-made waterway, serves as a vital link connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by traversing the Isthmus of Panama.
  • Strategic Importance: Recognized as one of the world's two most crucial artificial water passages, the Panama Canal shares this distinction with the Suez Canal, playing a pivotal role in international maritime trade.
  • Dimensions: Stretching approximately 80 kilometers in length, the canal serves as a remarkable feat of engineering, significantly shortening travel distances for ships.