Links in the Chain

With the Suez Canal being a major route for international shipping, and the recent expansion of the canal allowing for increased traffic, issues of security around the canal have been of increasing importance for both Egypt and foreign nations according to a BSI Intelligence Brief.

Operating in a region with both terrorist and anti-government groups, the canal represents a major target, as any disruption would harm both domestic and international interests. The $8.5 billion canal upgrade, completed in August, was commissioned as a major component of an Egyptian economic development program, and intended to allow for an increase in ship traffic and vessel size, as well as introducing a secondary channel so as to reduce the likelihood of stoppages. Concerns have been raised, however, that with the increase in sophistication of terrorist groups, an attack could be launched that would simultaneously disrupt both canal routes.

Of particular concern is the length of time that would be added to transit, in the even of a disruption of traffic through the canal, with a voyage from Asia to Europe adding over 5000 miles in distance, or about 10 days of travel.For companies operating on tight schedules, this sort of delay could have significant impacts on continued production.While Egypt has pledged protection for ships using the canal, it remains to be seen whether they will be able to achieve this while under pressure from increased security threats.