The creation of the Suez Canal was the culmination of a dream stretching back to the pharaohs of connecting the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, but why is it so important? Right now with the canal is blocked and more closely resembles a traffic jam rather than the vital trade artery connecting the trade and the Mediterranean basin with that of the Indian Ocean and Asia it is. The canal reduces the journey between the Arabian Sea and the North Atlantic by around 5000 miles saving the massive modern cargo vessels hundreds of thousands of dollars and tons of fuel by avoiding the long route around the Cape of Good Hope. This massive shortening of the route was even more vital in the days of sail and steam. On this podcast, Dan is joined by Zachary Karabel, author of Parting the desert: the creation of the Suez Canal; who discusses the history and construction of the canal, its lavish opening and how its existence led to imperialist expansion. Dan also talks to Kate Jamieson a maritime historian and part of the Operations team at MNG Maritime about the current implications of the closure.