Human history has been consistently marked by tracts of land which have a disproportionate effect on world events—The Rubicon, Normandy Beach, and the Nile.
Their reasons for being important: a political boundary, the frontline against fascism, and the birthplace of civilization, respectively.
The Suez Canal has fit into a few categories since it was created way back in the 1800s. It was the flashpoint for World War III in the 1950s and has remained the premier trade route since then.
This tract of land, which is just shy of 200 miles, affects global trade in a way few of us were ever aware.
The 200 miles shaves off over 3,000 miles from a trade route which otherwise would have to go around the horn of Africa. I bring all of this up for a couple reasons.
One: the Suez Canal connects Europe to Asia in a convenient and expedite fashion. The number of goods which travel through it measure in the billions weekly. The amount of capital, goods and resources that go along the route can be greater than the GDP of smaller countries.
Two: the Suez Canal is old. Not like ancient old, but old enough to bring up a couple facts.
Construction began before the American Civil War broke out to out that into prospective. The American Civil War leads into the industrial revolution, which doesn’t come into full swing until around the late 80s and 90s of the 1800s.
This causes some issues.
A couple weeks ago I wrote about how short-term profit over long-term planning completely backfired on Texas. Well not really backfire, more of a slap in the face of the consumers as those who produced goods just increased their prices as their consumers suffered.
I can say that the Suez Canal was like Texas in that regard. Or more accurately, short-term profit transcends any forward planning. The canal was built back when ships were a lot smaller and a lot slower. The ship that got stuck was almost the size of the Empire State building.
To say the canal is in need of an update is an understatement.
One ship stopped trade between two continents for six days. It didn’t explode or destroy the integrity of the canal. It went sideways and cost over $59 billion in trade. Not from the price of its cargo, but for blocking every other ship from being able to engage in trade.
I don’t want to speak for anyone else, but isn’t that a big deal?
I feel like this is a very similar situation to the Texas blizzard. The need to update far outweighs any cost, because as we have seen, the price eventually comes out anyway whether that be from an update to the infrastructure and system or updating anyway after the system fails catastrophically and costs money in lost revenue.
It’s not like the entire Suez Canal is bordered on either side by economically important industries. Most of it stretches out across vast desert expanses in the middle of nowhere.
The only reason not to update the Suez Canal is because someone is not willing to foot the bill.
Of all the reasons to update the canal, that is the least compelling in the face of the amount of trade it generates. It would be a massive undertaking, but would provide numerous jobs for many months if not years depending on how expansive the update is.
Even though the Suez Canal provided many great memes over a six-day period, I wanted to just spell out the issues surrounding.
This isn’t just about the Suez Canal.
What will spectacularly fail next time? We are seeing everywhere that systems are being neglected for a profit both domestically and globally. The things we take for granted will eventually fail if we aren’t proactive in maintaining them.