While the Suez Canal remains an essential crossing point for Europe-Asia maritime flows, the Middle East does not currently constitute an area of major land corridors, given the weakness of intra-regional trade, the existence of ports in each country and recurring political tensions.
The Suez Canal remains essential for Europe-Asia trade flows, with more than 10% of global maritime traffic and 22% of containers passing through it.
Widening and deepening works are carried out within the framework of the Egyptian maritime, logistics and energy hub strategy. To date, the main circumvention options remain unprofitable. The bypass via South Africa (Cape of Good Hope) significantly increases travel times (from 10 to 12 days depending on the destination) and costs. The Arctic route, reactivated due to global warming, remains seasonal and under Russian control.
The “new railway silk roads” between China and Europe, inaugurated in 2016 and growing since 2020, remain imperfect given many obstacles, such as higher costs for lower volumes transported.
The geopolitical recompositions (Abraham agreements) have generated reflections on new economic integration schemes between the Gulf and the Levant, but they have not at this stage translated into concrete projects for new land corridors from Israel.
These agreements have notably raised expectations regarding the creation of a new corridor linking the port of Jebel-Ali (Dubai) and the port of Haifa. The objective would be to capture part of the Europe-Asia flows and to access golf markets without going through the Suez Canal; however, such a project does not seem to have been seriously studied to date. Moreover, Jordan’s strategy, as a potential land link, has not yet been decided, while its priority is given to the development of the port of Aqaba.
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