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In the 20th century, trade traversed the Atlantic. In the 21st century, with the rise of Asia, huge volumes of trade moved between Asia and Europe and between Asia and the east coast of North America.

Egypt is uniquely well positioned to take advantage of that being -- since the Suez crisis of the 1950s -- the owner of the canal. At up to US$700,000 (A$923,000) a ship per transit the canal is quite the asset.

Going round Africa is an option, but not a good one. Passing the Cape of Good Hope adds 9000km and 10 days to a journey between Africa and Europe.