:: History

The Suez Canal is a canal in Egypt. Opened in November 1869, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigating around Africa or carrying goods overland between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The northern terminus is Port Said, with the southern terminus being near Suez. Ismailia is located halfway between Port Said and Suez.
The canal is 192 km (119mi) long. The maximum depth of the canal is 66 feet (20m). It is single-lane with 4 passing places north and south of the Great Bitter Lake, and links the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of Suez on the Red Sea. It contains no locks; seawater flows freely through the canal into the Great Bitter Lake from both the Red Sea in the south and the Mediterranean in the north. The canal is managed and maintained by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

:: Re-construction by Suez Canal Company

In 1854 and 1856 Ferdinand de Lesseps obtained a concession from Said Pasha, the viceroy of Egypt, to create a company to construct a canal open to ships of all nations, according to plans created by Austrian engineer Alois Negrelli. The company was to operate the canal by leasing the relevant land, for 99 years from its opening. De Lesseps had used his friendly relationship with Said, which he had developed while he was a French diplomat during the 1830s. The Suez Canal Company (Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez) came into being on 15 December, 1858.

:: Capacity

The canal allows passage of ships up to 150,000 tons displacement. It permits ships up to 16 m (53 ft) draft to pass, and improvements are planned to increase this to 22 m (72 ft) by 2010, allowing passage of fully-laden supertankers. Some supertankers are too large. Others can offload part of their cargo onto a canal-owned boat and reload at the other end of the canal.

:: Connections between the shores From north to south, connections are:

• The Suez Canal Bridge, also called “Mubarak Bridge” or “the Egyptian-Japanese Friendship Bridge”, is a high-level road bridge at El Qantara. In Arabic, al qantara means "the bridge". It has a 70-metre (230 ft) clearance over the canal and was built with assistance from the Japanese government and by PentaOcean Construction.
• El Ferdan Railway Bridge 20 km (12 mi) north of Ismailia was completed in 2001 and is the longest swing span bridge in the world, with a span of 340 m (1100 ft). The previous bridge was destroyed in 1967 during the Arab-Israeli conflict.
• Pipelines taking fresh water under the canal to Sinai, about 57 km (35 mi) north of Suez, at 30°27.3?N 32°21.0?E / 30.455°N 32.35°E / 30.455; 32.35.
• Ahmed Hamdi Tunnel south of the Great Bitter Lake was built in 1983. Because of leakage problems, a new water-tight tunnel was built inside the old one, from 1992 to 1995.
• The Suez Canal overhead line crossing power line was built in 1999.
• A railway on the west bank runs parallel to the canal for its entire length.