Ship canals may be specially constructed from the start to accommodate ships, or less frequently they may be enlarged barge canals, or canalized or channelized rivers. There are no specific minimum dimensions for ship canals, with the size being largely dictated by the size of ships in use nearby at the time of construction or enlargement.
Ship canals may be constructed for a number of reasons, including:
The standard used in the European Union for classifying the navigability of inland waterways is the European Agreement on Main Inland Waterways of International Importance (AGN) of 1996, adopted by The Inland Transport Committee of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), which defines the following classes: (This table is incomplete.)
Shipping Canals are engineered and constructed waterways that allow transportation of goods through naturally land locked bodies of water, that would otherwise be almost impossible to access. Shipping canals allow for materials to be brought to other countries in a faster and much more financially responsible manner. This was especially important years ago, when traveling through rugged mountainous countries, meant time consuming expeditions over terrain that was wrought with unpredictable obstacles and treacherous weather conditions. Man-made construction of ship canals varies. One great engineering feat was the construction of what is called a lock, or lock-gate. These are large gates that when opened and closed in different successions, can be pumped full of water, which in turn, creates varying water levels when water is pumped into the locks, or pools. When the water level reaches the desired height, the next lock-gate is opened and the ship can proceed through the previously unnavigable waterway.
There are several ship canals that are important to international trading routes. The 10 most well-known shipping Canals are:
Danube-Black Sea Canal: Connects the Danube River to the Black Sea. Kiel Canal: Aids shipping passage between the Baltic and North Sea. Houston Ship Canal: Ships are able to enter The Gulf of Mexico. Manchester Ship Canal: Links the Irwell and Mersey Rivers. Panama Canal: Gives ships more direct access from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. Rhine-Main-Danube Canal: Connects all 3 rivers in Western Europe. Suez Canal: Ships use this to travel between the Red and Mediterranean Sea. This canal is also noted as one of the longest in the world, spanning over 120 miles in length. Volga-Don Canal: Links both the Volga and Don rivers in Russia. Welland Canal: Joins together the Erie and Ontario Rivers in Canada. The White Sea-Baltic Sea Canal: Controls shipping through Russia