Many countries have launched projects aimed at diversifying international shipping routes and shipping goods within a shorter period of time than traditional routes, foremost of which is the Suez Canal.
The following are the most prominent transportation projects nominated to be a competitor to the Suez Canal as a global shipping artery:
Northern Navigation Corridor:
The Northern Navigation Corridor runs through the Arctic region and connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans across the Arctic Ocean. Russia is working with great interest on the development of the sea corridor.
Moscow plans to use the corridor to export oil and gas to foreign markets, especially since most of it is largely free of ice. The Northern Navigation Corridor is expected to become a major trade route for shipped goods between Europe and Asia in the future.
In August 2022, the Russian government approved a plan to develop the Northern Navigation Corridor until 2035, and the total funding for activities amounts to about 1.8 trillion rubles (nearly $30 billion).
According to a report published by the “Washington Post” newspaper, the journey from Asia to Europe takes an average of 23 days through the Northern Corridor, while through the Suez Canal it takes about 34 days, indicating that there is an abundance of costs and time.
In its report published on the occasion of the crossing of a container cargo ship belonging to the “Maersk” company years ago, the newspaper described the northern navigation route as the “Russian Suez Canal,” noting that Russia seeks to turn the passage into a major port for navigation in the world.
The “North-South” shipping corridor is a multi-modal corridor from the Russian port of St. Petersburg to the port of Mumbai in India and the ports overlooking the Gulf. The corridor is 7.2 thousand kilometers long and passes through Iran.
The “north-south” shipping corridor includes three international shipping routes: across the Caspian Sea (using railways and ports), and two land routes, west and east.
According to a report by the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, the volume of cargo traffic through the corridor doubled, reaching 2.3 million tons in the first quarter of 2023.
It is planned to increase the volume of cargo traffic along the route to reach between 15 and 17 million tons annually by 2030.
In a move aimed at completing the “North-South” strategic transport project, Moscow and Tehran signed earlier this month an agreement to construct a 162-kilometer railway between the port of Astara and the city of Rasht in Iran.
The extension of the railway between Astara and Rasht will ensure the operation of freight by trains along the entire corridor.
Regarding the importance of the railway project between Astara and Rasht, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an example that the period for shipping goods from St. Significant savings in terms of time and costs.
Iraqi shipping artery:
A few days ago, Iraq launched a project that observers believe may be a competitor to the Suez Canal, as the new Iraqi project shortens travel time between Asia and Europe.
The value of the project is estimated at 17 billion dollars to link an important port for goods on its southern coast with the border with Turkey by extending a railway network and roads.
The development road aims to link the oil-rich port of Faw in southern Iraq with Turkey, turning the country into a transit center by shortening travel time between Asia and Europe in an attempt to compete with the Suez Canal.
The Iraqi government envisages high-speed trains transporting goods and passengers at speeds of up to 300 kilometers per hour, in addition to extending lines to local industry and energy centers, which could include oil and gas pipelines.
According to the plans, the main transportation routes will be linked to the main port of Faw on the shores of the Gulf. By modernizing and building more than 1.2 thousand kilometers of railways and highways linking Iraq with neighboring countries.
Despite the projects that are being launched, which are candidates to be a competitor to the Suez Canal, experts agree that the Suez Canal will remain important as a shipping artery for many years.
This article was originally published by RT.