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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Cheap Oil Has A Hidden Price Tag

Cheap Oil Is Taking Shipping routes Back to the 1800s. 

The plummeting price of oil on international markets has had many effects – one of which is that it may be cheaper for ships to travel right around Africa than go through the Suez Canal.

Chris Baraniuk | March 4, 2016

The Suez Canal was one of the most significant engineering projects of the 19th Century. It was a gargantuan task that took nearly 20 years to build and an estimated 1.5 million workers took part – with many thousands dying in the process. But when it finally opened in 1869, ships could travel from the Red Sea – between Africa and Asia – to the Mediterranean, cutting weeks off a journey. It was a revolution for trade.
Ever since, passage through the canal has been considered more or less vital to global business. Shipping firms pay what amounts to several billion dollars every year to the Suez Canal Authority, an Egyptian state-owned entity, for the privilege of travelling via the canal.


Cape of Good Hope shipping route. Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (RPT-COLUMN-Cheap oil is blunting drive for fuel efficiency: Kemp. April 13, 2016) and (Oil prices are so low it's cheaper to sail 9,000km around Africa than cross the Suez Canal and pay fees. There are signs that low prices are bad for criminals too, so they are focusing more on ransoming ship crews, than stealing the crude on the vessels. March 3, 2016)>

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