Shipping canal is a type of water canal specifically created along major seawater routes to aid the passage of cargo ships. Ship canals are specially designed or enlarged so as to accommodate large sized cargo vessels. Such canals are of vital importance in the maritime world as they offer shorter, alternative transportation routes across major seawater networks and also help to regulate maritime traffic internally within countries.
Across the world there are many such shipping canals that aid the movement of ships on an everyday basis. Some of these canals are also the most busiest traffic routes around the world.
Mentioned below are ten of the most famous and busiest shipping canals from around the world.
1. The White Sea – Baltic Sea Canal
The White Sea-Baltic Sea Canal is an important waterway that regularizes traffic internally along the Russian waterways starting from the White Sea in the north and extending to the Baltic Sea down south.
Constructed in the year 1933, the shipping canal passes through various smaller water bodies before finally emerging into the Baltic Sea. Although an important navigation conduct, the canal however isn’t suitable for merchant ships vessels with larger dimensions and specifications.
2. Rhine-Main-Danube Canal
Linking three important rivers in the heart of Western Europe, the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal or the Europa Canal was originally built as early as the 1938s. Over the years there have been several constructional extensions that have been made to the canal, the last one being carried out in the early 1990s.
The Europa Canal is a major marine transportation gateway linking the North Sea to the Black Sea, via the Atlantic Ocean. It is also an important shipping gateway within Europe.
3. Suez Canal
The Suez Canal is an extremely crucial and famous shipping canal allowing the passage of vessels between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.
The canal was constructed in the mid-1800s and as has been recognized as a maritime route to be open at all times, to shipping vessels of all countries in order to facilitate continuity in maritime trade operations irrespective of global conflicts.
4. Volga-Don Canal
The Volga-Don ship canal interlinks the Russian rivers Volga and Don in-turn, providing an important water passage through the Azoff Sea (a bay of the Black Sea) and the Caspian Sea to the major oceanic networks.
The original construction work on the canal was started as early as the 16th century and the route was considered important because of the fact that it provided a much passage to connect the Eastern European shipping networks with their Western counterparts.
5. Kiel Canal
Connecting the Baltic Sea with the North Sea, the Kiel Canal passes through the German province of Schleswig-Holstein. The constructional aspect of the water route dates back to the 1700s, though the construction of the present-day Kiel water conduit began only during the late 1890s.
Using the shipping canal allows vessels to bypass the longer route that passes via Denmark (peninsula of Jutland), which is regarded to quite an unstable maritime route.
6. Houston Ship Canal
Mainly utilised to provide passage of ships entering the Houston harbour into the Gulf of Mexico, the Houston Ship Canal, is a vital water conduit in the internal United States.
Although occurring naturally, the shipping canal has been broadened in order to ensure its continued viability. The Houston Ship Canal has been in existence and operation since the mid 1830s.
7. Panama Canal
One of the most crucial maritime gateways in the western region, the Panama Canal provides connectivity between the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean through the Panama isthmus.
The canal was built in the year 1914 and has been a major marine route since then, with high levels of marine traffic passing through it on either sides.
8. Danube-Black Sea Canal
The Danube-Black Sea conduit is yet another important passage in the western European region. In addition to connecting the Danube River to the Black Sea, this shipping canal also in a way interlinks the Black Sea to the North Sea by way of the Danube-Main-Rhine conduit and provides a maritime passage to Eastern Europe by way of the Volga-Don canal.
The canal is important as it helps vessels to bypass the difficult deltaic region of Danube and thus enable continuity in maritime operations.
9. Manchester Ship Canal
The Manchester Ship Canal passes through the Rivers Irwell and Mersey in the province of Liverpool and extends up to Manchester.
In operation since the late 19th century, the shipping canal is one of the most crucial maritime routes in the English internal marine transportation sector.
10. Welland Canal
The Welland Canal joins two major Canadian river networks – the Ontario River with the Erie River. The necessity of the ship canal is further emphasized by the fact that it allows vessels’ passage through the embankment of the Niagara Falls and completely avoid the Niagara Falls’ route.
Although the construction work began as early as in 1924, over the years several extensions were made to the canal which was finally completed in the year 1932.