On this day in 1859, began the construction of the Suez Canal.
At a cost of 100 million dollars this masterpiece of engineering, the Suez Canal, meant a big boost for trade between Asia and Europe.
Inaugurated 10 years later and with a length of 163 kilometers, this artificial waterway opened a door to the direct maritime traffic between this two continents, as it deleted the need to surround the entire African continent.
Nowadays, it is one of the most important channels in the world, supporting an 8% of world seaborne trade. It allows the passage of ships up to 20 meters deep, 240000 tons and a maximum height of 68 meters above the water level.
Depending on the traffic, it should take between 11 and 16 hours to cross the channel. It is due mainly to its width: 300meters. That prevents the boats pass simultaneously, so sometimes they have to wait in any bay until the way is free. Furthermore, it is forbidden to go through it very fast, because the ships would form waves that would erode the banks of the channel.
There are several plans in order to improve the Suez Canal features and adapt it to the current maritime traffic.