¿What is a Strait?
According to the Wikipedia a strait is a naturally formed, narrow, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water. Most commonly it is a channel of water that lies between two land masses.
As being able to transport goods easily and quickly throughout the world is a key goal of the shipping industry, we compiled a list of some of the world’s top and most important straits and channels. It is within these straits and channels where a significant volume of maritime trade takes place, due to the locations’ history and strategic positions.
Main Hotspots for Maritime transport:
- Bosporus Strait
- Strait of Gibraltar
- Bering Strait
- Strait of Magellan
- Strait of Hormuz
- Bab el-Mandeb Strait
- Strait of Malacca
- Suez Canal
- Panama Canal
The Bosporus Strait is a natural water route located in northwestern Turkey. Bosporus has always been strategically important for military and logistics purposes. It connects the Black Sea and the sea of Marmara and, by extension via the Dardanelles, the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas.
Strait of Gibraltar
The Strait of Gibraltar has a strategic importance, as it connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It separates Gibraltar and Peninsular Spain in Europe from Morocco and Ceuta in Africa. This strait is a key shipping route from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic
The Bering Strait is an important waterway between the easternmost point of Asia and the western most point of North America, which separates Russia and Alaska. It is the boundary point of North America and Asia. The Bering Strait is named after Danish explorer Vitus Bering.
Strait of Magellan
The Strait of Magellan is the most-important natural passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The Strait of Magellan is a sea route in southern Chile separating mainland South America to the north and Tierra del Fuego to the south. It was an important route for steam ships traveling and, even nowadays, it is still one of the most concurred ports in South America.
Strait of Hormuz
The Strait of Hormuz is a strait between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. It provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean. The narrow Strait of Hormuz is considered one of the world’s most-strategic straits of water. On the north coast lies Iran, and on the south coast the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman.
Bab el-Mandeb Strait
The Bab el-Mandeb Strait is a strategic waterway between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. At its narrowest, it is only eighteen miles across. Exports from the Persian Gulf and Asia destined for Western markets must pass through the strait before passing through the Suez Canal.
Strait of Malacca
The Strait of Malacca is a natural water route between Indonesia and Malaysia, with a high commercial importance. The strait is the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, linking major Asian economies such as India, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, China, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. This makes this 900km long strait one of the most important hotspots for maritime transport in Asia.
The Suez Canal is an artificial waterway in Egypt linking the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. It is a 163 km-long waterway in the western part of the Sinai Desert Peninsula. The canal offers watercraft a more direct route between the North Atlantic and northern Indian Oceans via the Mediterranean and Red Seas, thus avoiding the South Atlantic and southern Indian Oceans. It is the only direct sea route connecting oil-rich countries with the Mediterranean and Red seas.
The Panama Canal is the southernmost country in Central America, located within the territory of Panama and is an artificial waterway connecting the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean. The construction of the canal was one of the biggest and most difficult engineering projects in history. Over the years it has become a short and cheap transit route for ships transporting goods, an important shortcut for worldwide maritime shipping.