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Manchester Ship Canal

The Manchester Ship Canal (MSC) is a large canal in northern England, which is 36 miles (57 kilometres) long and links the city of Manchester to the Irish Sea. As the name suggests, the MSC is large enough to take ocean-going ships.

The MSC is the eighth-longest ship canal in the world, being only slightly shorter than the Panama Canal in Central America.

The MSC was built in the 1890s and opened in 1894. It was built as a way to reverse the economic decline that Manchester suffered during the late 19th century, by ensuring that the city had direct access to the sea to export its manufactured goods, and wouldn't have to rely for sea access on the nearby port city of Liverpool.

Upon completion, the MSC ensured that Manchester became Britain's third busiest port, despite being 40 miles inland. Unlike most British canals, the MSC was never nationalised and to this day is owned by the Manchester Ship Canal Company.

Today, due largely to the decline in manufacturing industry and the fact that most modern ships are too large to fit in the MSC, the part of the MSC that goes into central Manchester is no longer used for freight transport, and the amount of freight carried on the MSC has declined, although around eight million tonnes of freight are still transported on the canal each year.

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