Does the Suez canal have locks? How much does it cost to go through the Suez Canal?

Suez Canal: Ever Given ship ‘partially refloated’ after blockage

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The Suez Canal is free to operate once more, with queues of ships eager to get their wares through the seafaring trade highway. Authorities managed to detach the ship’s bow and stern from each of the canal’s banks, where it became lodged on March 23. The lengthy delay will have resulted in hefty costs, both for the companies travelling down the canal and the officials managing it.

Does the Suez Canal have locks?

Those who have seen the Suez Canal from above will understand it as a featureless straight line joining the Suez Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea.

As such, it doesn’t have locks, which conventionally feature in British canals.

Ships intending to travel through must radio the harbour before the 120-mile trip north or south.

Locks exist where canals connect two bodies of water with different levels.

Initially, those who proposed the Suez Canal believed they would have to install locks.

Future French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte abandoned the plan in the 19th century because locks would require too much time and money.

They assumed the Red Sea was 8.5 metres higher than its Mediterranean counterpart.

However, this turned out to be incorrect, and as such, locks didn’t feature in the final design.

In reality, the difference in sea levels between the two seas is negligible.

And with the flat terrain of the surrounding area, there are few obstacles for ships travelling through calm weather.

The canal also operates without surge gates, which may leave it vulnerable to tsunami fallout from either end.

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How much does it cost to go through the Suez Canal?

As the Ever Given crisis has proven, the Suez Canal takes on significant daily traffic from vast vessels.

Billions of pounds pass through the route, and naturally, this demands a toll for Suez authorities.

According to Norwegian shipping company Wilhelmsen Holding ASA, the toll depends on several factors.

Prospective travellers will have to calculate their toll based on the following variables:

  • Vessel type
  • Draft (ship length) in metres
  • Suez Canal Net Tonnage (SCNT)
  • Vessel gross tonnage (GRT)
  • Ship status (laden or unladen)
  • Entrypoint (north or south)

For example, a laden 400-metre container ship with an SCNT and GRT of 80 entering the northbound entrance would incur a $6,141.20 (£4,441.01) toll.

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