Suez Canal's 2018 score with higher 18,000-TEUer throughput

THE Suez Canal Authority saw double-digit container traffic growth as well 3

20 February 2019 - 19:00

THE Suez Canal Authority saw double-digit container traffic growth as well 3.6 per cent more 18,000 TEU ships using the waterway, according to a report by SRM, a study and research centre for southern Italy and the Intesa San Paolo group.

The report said cargo volumes shipped across this major trade thoroughfare in 2018 were up 8.2 per cent year on year to 983.4 million tons.

It highlighted how the widening of the Suez Canal led to a 12 per cent spurt in the number of medium sized ships passed through in 2018 compared to 2014, the year before the canal's expansion, reported Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide.

Containerships were the most numerous of those that transited the Suez Canal last year with 5,706, up 2.5 per cent. Freight traffic amounted to 983 million tons in 2018, up 8.2 per cent over 2017, when the previous freight record was set.

The new high came from freight traffic crossing the canal from both the north and south entrances, with 524.6 million tons (+9.8 per cent) in the north-south direction and 458.8 million tons (+6.6 per cent) in the south-north direction.

Container and oil shipping account for 74 per cent of total cargo volumes, with containers transporting half of all freight.

The Suez Canal is the third most important route in the world for oil and natural gas transport from the Gulf to Europe and North America. These two routes represent nine per cent of the worldwide oil trade by sea.

The traffic trend also shows that the doubling of the canal is gradually changing the worldwide maritime transport order, above all along the east-west route.

Over the past 11 years, traffic from Southeast Asia to the Mediterranean has soared 37 per cent, together with traffic growth to and from the Gulf, up 77 per cent, where China is the final destination for the majority of the commercial exchange.

The study said the presence of China among the main origin and destination areas of transiting cargo in the Mediterranean explains the strategic value of the Suez Canal in view of the Belt and Road initiative.

There are now 113 countries involved in some way with the project. As of September 2017 China had signed cooperation agreements with 74 countries.


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