Photo: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, 2015.
The Corinthian canal is 6.4 km in length and connects the Ionian and the Aegean seas through the Isthmus of Corinth. The idea of using the short isthmus as a canal can go as far back as the 7th Century BC when a portage road was established. Upon its completion in 1893, the canal soon became obsolete due to its narrowness (21 meters wide; only one ship at a time), its shallowness (8 meters deep), and the limited time savings it confers for long-distance shipping routes. Further, erosion and sedimentation require constant dredging, which adds to operating costs and force the temporary closing of the canal. It is a good example of how quickly changes in ship size and trade patterns can impact the commercial relevance of a canal project. If the canal could have been built in Antiquity, it would have substantially impacted trade flows in the region. However, for contemporary maritime shipping, it offers little or no advantage.