Saturday, January 15, 2005

Where Can We Get an I-Pass for Suez Canal Tolls?

I’ve been busy commenting on Chester's latest thread, the threat from al-Queda at sea. I think you might like some of my comments such as the “1000 foot trireme”. But one point really caught my eye in his source article from Newhouse News Service. We are sending twelve supply ships around the Cape of Good Hope rather than through the Suez Canal:

“The command "generally sends ships around (the Cape) when we have the time, because it's cheaper," she said. Egypt charges hefty fees, based on tonnage, on ships transitting the canal.”

Who did Egypt learn that from, the French who built the Suez Canal? From whom Nasser expropriated the canal? Et tu, Jacques Chiraq?
Maybe the solution to the Arab-Israeli problem is to build a modern container port with a railroad between the Med and the Gulf of Aqaba! Put some competitive pressure on Suez Canal tolls! The 12/28/04 Wall Street Journal had an article detailing how both the BNSF & UP railroads are engaged in adding a second track to their respective mainlines to the Pacific.
"In total, Burlington Northern Santa Fe has spent $656 million since 1996 to add 278 miles of second track to the Transcon route. By the end of this year, work crews will have moved a total of 17 million cubic yards of rock and dirt, enough to fill a train more than 1,000 miles long. The company is moving much more slowly than its 19th-century predecessors, but it is doing the work with fewer employees and the quality of the track is better."
What better way to keep the Panmanian tolls in line!


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