Skip to main content

What does the expansion of the Suez Canal tell us about global trade?












By Satya Savitzky

Aug 19 2015










Egypt has opened a second lane to the Suez Canal amid much fanfare. 








The US$8 billion dollar expansion adds 35km of new channels to the existing canal and another 35km where existing bodies of water were dredged to make way for larger ships




This will supposedly increase capacity from 50 transits a day to 97 and cut waiting times from 18 to 11 hours, which the Suez Canal Authority claims will more than double annual revenue to US$13.2 billion by 2023.






By cutting the distance between Europe and Asia by 43%, the Suez Canal’s opening in 1869 dramatically lowered the cost of moving goods between the two continents. 




Suez – like the Panama Canal, which is also currently undergoing expansion – drew distant places together, facilitated the expansion of national economies, and accelerated globalisation.




Yet in the 21st century, driven largely by growth in China’s manufacturing exports, there are now many more ships plying the sea lanes. And these ships are increasing in size. The world’s largest is the size of four football fields and can carry 19,000 20-foot cargo containers. 



As a result, the narrow passages that provide economical links between centres of production and consumption – like Panama, Suez and Malacca – are as much obstacles to global trade as facilitators of it.






Highly symbolic: Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, opening the expanded Suez Canal.





EPA

Imperatives to smooth the flow of commodities, as well as provide insulation from the disruptions of piracy, are also driving the development of alternative routes. These include the new Chinese-backed Silk Road initiative that connects China to Europe over land and sea, and the Russian-controlled Northern Sea Route through the Arctic, which is becoming more accessible as a result of climate change processes. The expansion of Suez is therefore part of a much larger picture of global growth in shipping.






Laden with symbolism


Shipping routes are not purely about supply chains and economics. They are culturally and symbolically laden – particularly because they involve retracing historical trade routes. 



European legacies of discovery and natural conquest live on through the desire to master routes across the Arctic. And similarly the Chinese government’s Silk Road initiative, dubbed “one belt, one road”, invokes an imagined community of trade, linking China to both its neighbours and its past.

As anthropologist Brian Larkin proposes, material infrastructure is often implicated in dynamics that have little to do with their technical functions. The carving of these routes is as caught up with the carving of national identities, as it is with extending a state’s geopolitical reach and increasing its revenue. The recent opening of the new Suez Canal is as much a symbolic response to terrorist threats by the Egyptian government as it is an attempt to bolster Egypt’s global standing.





Indeed the speed of the canal’s upgrade has astonished many. Completed in just 11 months, trade routes now seem subject to the same accelerated cycles of upgrade and obsolescence as the goods that move through them. Drummed up by their architects and promoters, there is also a similar sense of hype and anticipation that is built around these projects, which invariably all promise to transform global trade.







Future problems

Yet, even with the expansions, Suez and Panama will still not be able to accommodate the world’s biggest oil tankers and container ships, making them in a sense, already obsolete. 


A Chinese consortium, however, is developing a new 175-mile long canal through Nicaragua, which will be capable of handling the world’s biggest vessels. 



The project will provide an alternative to the Panama Canal, but faces vociferous opposition from the farmers, peasants and indigenous groups whose lands are set to be annexed by this new artery of global trade. Thousands of people were reportedly evicted from their homes to facilitate Suez’s expansion too.




There are inevitable ecological implications associated with reshaping land and seascapes on such a vast scale too. 



Suez’s opening in the late 19th century not only facilitated the global movement of goods, but the massive transfer of invasive species. 



Some 350 non-native species are thought to have entered the Mediterranean via the canal, many of which pose significant threats to human health and local ecosystems.




For instance swarms of “nomad jellyfish”, which entered the Mediterranean via Suez in the 1970s, frequently make commercial fishing impossible, can close tourist beaches, and have even temporarily disabled a power station. 



The enlargement of the canal, scientists have warned, will increase the number of invasions.







Footprints in the sea




Unlike paths etched through landscapes, oceans retain no footprints. But the intensity of modern-day dredging, as well as the large-scale transfer of marine biota, means that seascapes will bear the mark of these projects long after the activities which gave rise to them cease.




The expansion of Panama, scheduled for completion next year, has triggered a wave of frenetic dredging activity along the Atlantic coast, as ports are forced to expand or face losing traffic to competitors.



 New York’s port alone has moved some 42m cubic yards of dirt over a decade in anticipation of the opening of an expanded Panama Canal. Thousands of years from now, archaeologists will be able to find the channels carved through our oceans by all this movement.




So, while the economic significance of the expanded Suez is in doubt, its symbolic value is certain. Its legacy is unlikely to be its consequences for global trade, but to further contribute to such a dramatic reshaping of the planet by human activity.












This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.



Author: Satya Savitzky is PhD Candidate, Lancaster Center for Mobilities Research at Lancaster University




Image: A Gaslog Skagen ship passes in the Suez canal near Ismailia port city, northeast of Cairo. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh.






https://agenda.weforum.org/2015/08/what-does-the-expansion-of-the-suez-canal-tell-us-about-global-trade




Popular posts from this blog

MEET MELANIA TRUMP: The 5'11" supermodel married to Donald Trump

Aly Weisman, INSIDER

Sep. 2, 2015, 3:28 PM 











Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images







While Donald Trump loves to be the center of media attention, his third and current wife, Melania Trump, is a bit more camera shy.










The Slovenian-born model keeps a lower profile than her husband, doing philanthropy work, raising their son, working on a jewelry collection with QVC, and creating a $150-an-ounce caviar moisturizer.




With Trump on the campaign trail, Melania has stoically stood by his side.




But who exactly is Melania and where did she come from? Learn about Trump's other half here ...





Melania Knauss was born April 26, 1970, in Slovenia.




Wikimedia/Getty







The 5'11" brunette began her modeling career at 16, and signed with a modeling agency in Milan at 18.



Chris Hondros/Newsmakers via Getty









She took a break from modeling to get her degree in design and architecture at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia.








Wikimedia/Getty

Source: MelaniaTrump.com









But after graduating, her modeling career took off and Me…

THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER MANGOES IN THE WORLD ....

While "Flavor" is very subjective, and each country that grows mangoes is very nationalistic, these are the mango varieties that are the most sought after around the world because of sweetnesss (Brix) and demand.

The Chaunsa has a Brix rating in the 22 degree level which is unheard of!
Carabao claims to be the sweetest mango in the world and was able to register this in the Guiness book of world records.
Perhaps it is time for a GLOBAL taste test ???





In alphabetical order by Country....










India




Alphonso





Alphonso (mango)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia








Alphonso (हापुस Haapoos in Marathi, હાફુસ in Gujarati, ಆಪೂಸ್ Aapoos in Kannada) is a mango cultivar that is considered by many[who?] to be one of the best in terms of sweetness, richness and flavor. 


It has considerable shelf life of a week after it is ripe making it exportable. 

It is also one of the most expensive kinds of mango and is grown mainly in Kokan region of western India.

 It is in season April through May and the fruit wei…

INDIA 2016 : Mango production in state likely to take a hit this year

TNN | May 22, 2016, 12.32 PM IST






Mangaluru: Vagaries of nature is expected to take a toll on the production of King of Fruits - Mango - in Karnataka this year. A combination of failure of pre-monsoon showers at the flowering and growth stage and spike in temperature in mango growing belt of the state is expected to limit the total production of mango to an estimated 12 lakh tonnes in the current season as against 14 lakh tonnes in the last calendar year.



However, the good news for fruit lovers is that this could see price of mangoes across varieties decrease marginally by 2-3%. This is mainly on account of 'import' of the fruit from other mango-growing states in India, said M Kamalakshi Rajanna, chairperson, Karnataka State Mango Development and Marketing Corporation Ltd.




Karnataka is the third largest mango-growing state in India after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.



Inaugurating a two-day Vasanthotsava organized by Shivarama Karantha Pilikula Nisargadhama and the Corporation at P…