The importance of the sea transport: 5 vital waterways for global trade

Did you know? 90% of the goods are transported by the sea!

Considering the strategic and economic importance of transport by sea let's have a look at what are the five most important waterways for global trade at this moment and why are they often targets for pirate attacks.

5. The Panama Canal

Artificial 82 kilometers waterway in Panama that connect Atlantic with Pacific Ocean. One of the largest and most difficult engineering project ever taken. Up to 14.000 ships use the canal each year, carrying around 286 million tons of cargo.

4. The Suez Canal

Artificial 193-kilometre-long canal in Egypt is a key trade route for the goods transport between Europe in Asia. Some people call it „the portal“ between East and West. Around 18.000 vessels crossed the canal in 2022.

Due to its importance, often affected by attacks on commercial ships causing them to reroute around South Africa which greatly affects lead time.

3. Strait of Hormuz

Annually, around 20.000 ships use this narrow channel between Iran and Oman. The strait is 167 kilometers long. A third of the world's liquefied natural gas and almost 25% of total global oil consumption passes through the strait, making it a highly important strategic location for international trade.

2. Malacca Strait

The primary trade route between Europe and Asia sees 84.000 ships per year. Located between the Indonesian island of Sumatra to the southwest and the Malay Peninsula to the northeast.

One of the most important shipping lanes in the world, as around 25% of the world's traded goods is carried through the strait. For more info and interesting details about Malacca Strait, please check the video on the link:

1.English Channel

560 kilometers long canal that separates Southern England from Northern France. The waterway is used by 400 vessels every day, which is 146.000 every year. The channel was a key factor in Great Britain becoming a naval superpower.


Considering strategic importance and locations of mentioned channels, disruptions to shipping routes can have costly global repercussions. Severe drought has forced the Panama Canal to cut ship crossing by a third. In 2021, the container ship Ever Given blocked the traffic in Suez Canal for 6 days which lead to a cost of global trade of $6-10 USD billions.

In case you are looking for an optimal transport by the sea, feel free to reach us anytime!

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