The blockage of the Suez Canal by the beached Ever Given container ship has prompted fresh international efforts to find an alternative to the world’s most important shipping corridor. UN officials are understood to be reviewing plans to construct a new canal along the Egypt-Israel border, having previously dismissed ideas for a much longer route through Iraq and Syria as too hazardous. The blockage of the Suez Canal is estimated to have cost hundreds of millions of pounds, as well as threatening Europe’s vital supply chains from Asia, bringing everything from toilet roll and iPhones to takeaways and PPE. The UN had previously commissioned a feasibility study from the international tunnelling company OFP Lariol, which estimated “Suez 2” could be dredged within five years. The canal would run in a near straight line into the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea. Another alternative the UN is looking at involves recreating an ancient passage to the Nile from the Red Sea.
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