Crossing the Suez Canal may be expensive, and the convoy system does have its constraints, but it would nevertheless be impossible to envisage a definitive return to the old route, which obliged ships to ‘take the long way round’ via the Cape of Good Hope.
This is because a Suez Canal crossing drastically reduces the distances which separate North from South. The Jeddah-Constanza route has been reduced by 80%, Asia-Northern Europe routes are cut by 25%, and the Suez Canal slashes the distance between Nhava Sheva (Bombay) and Rotterdam from 10,743 nautical miles to just 6,337.
These reduced distances result in quicker transport times and substantial fuel savings, all of which make the Suez Canal a very attractive option.
Our vessels crossed the Suez Canal 651 times in 2012. The FAL-EPIC Asia lines were the biggest users, with 358 crossings – more than 50% of the total – and if you factor in the 99 crossings by MEX that figure rises to 70%.
The Suez Canal is essential to leading shipping companies such as CMA CGM who service Asian markets.