Choke points and the Suez Canal

Smooth sailing in logistics is never newsworthy; the media will never report on a non-accident. We take for granted that many transportation and communication systems run in and incredibly efficient manner and the exception proves the rule. The March 2021 accident that shut down the Suez Canal was major news; think about the largest freeway near your community. An accident makes for a huge traffic jam…now but imagine that on the Suez Canal, which facilitates roughly 10% of ALL global trade. This negatively numerous global supply chains and impacted stock markets prices of oil and other commodities as it brought Mediterranean/Indian Ocean trade to an absolute standstill. The critical nature of choke points to the entire system are revealed on the rare occasions when things go wrong. The CNN video in the the tweet below explains the economic ramifications of a choke point “choking off” trade.

Within hours, massive ocean-going vessels had nowhere to go and were loitering around Port Said and Suez (the two ends of the canal), as shown from these screengrabs from a marine-tracking site. This why critical, narrow transportation lanes are called choke points.


The Incident was great for the online meme creators.

Below, is a video that shows the inauguration of the 2015 expansion of the Suez Canal. This gives some solid context for the importance of the Suez Canal. Completed in 1869, with the new expansion the canal is over 200 meters wide and 24 meters deep. This was made to accommodate the largest of the ocean-going vessels, which when turned sideways (as we have learned in this incident) can be over 400 meters and block the entire canal.

About the author: Shandra Johnson
I love to research and I'm very organized. I've worked in retail which is enjoyed. I wish I could find a job that allowed me to have more time with my son.

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