Oil shipments through Suez Canal at four-year high in 2012

Oil shipments through the Suez Canal increased by 22.5 percent in 2012 as compared to 2011, said the canal’s international navigation statistics department.

The loads carried by the oil tankers were higher in 2012 than they had been for the previous four years, reaching 140.8 million tons that year, as compared to 115.1 million in 2011.

The rates for oil shipments also increased in 2012, Mahmoud Rezq, the vice president of the canal’s planning and research department, told the state-run news agency MENA. Rates were increased in response to fears from oil-importing countries that Iran would carry through on its threat to close the Hormuz Strait on the Arab Gulf due to financial sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union against the country’s nuclear program.

Official reports show that 35 percent of the world’s oil exports are transferred through Hormuz Strait.

More than 3 million barrels of oil pass through the Suez Canal and the Sumed pipeline each day, according to OPEC.

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