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Ship canal

A ship canal is a canal specially constructed to carry ocean-going ships as opposed to barges.

Ship canals are either enlarged barge canals, canalised rivers[?], or canals specially constructed from the start.

In order for a canal to qualify as a Ship canal, it must have a minimum depth of at least 5 metres (16.4 feet), although many are much deeper than this.

Ship canals are constructed for one of three reasons.

  1. To create a shortcut, and avoid lengthy detours.
  2. To create a navigable shipping link, between two land-locked seas or lakes which did not exist before.
  3. To provide inland cities with a direct shipping link to the sea.

Here is a list of the world's principal ship canals.

  1. Baltic to White Sea Canal[?] (formerly Stalin Canal) in Russia 141 miles (227 km) long. opened in 1933, is partly a canalised river, partly artificial canal, and also includes some lakes.
  2. Suez Canal in Egypt 100 miles (160 km) long, opened in 1869 Links the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.
  3. V.I Lenin Volga-Don Canal[?] in Russia. 62 miles (100 km) long. Opened in 1952. Interconects Black, Azov[?] and Caspian Seas.
  4. Kiel Canal in Germany 60 miles (98 km) long. Opened in 1895. Shortens the North Sea to Baltic Sea Passage.
  5. Houston Ship Canal[?] in the USA 56 miles (91 km) long. Connects Houston, Texas to the Gulf of Mexico.
  6. Alphonse XIII Canal[?] in Spain 53 miles (85 km) long. opened in1926. Mostly canalised river. Links Seville to the Gulf of Cadiz[?].
  7. Panama Canal in Panama 51 miles (82 km) long. Opened in 1914. Links Caribbean Sea to Pacific Ocean, creating shortcut.
  8. Manchester Ship Canal in England 35 miles (57 km) long. Opened in 1894. Links Manchester to Irish Sea.
  9. Welland Canal[?] in Canada 28 miles (45 km) long. Opened in 1931. Links Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.



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