World Sea Route Map

About World Sea Route Map

Explore this world map to locate all major ports and shipping routes around the Globe.

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Sea Route

A sea lane, sea route, or shipping passage is a commonly used navigable route for facilitating the movement of large vessels on broad waterways like the ocean and large lakes. Usually, sea routes are economical, direct, and safe. During the age of sail, sea routes were not only calculated by the distribution of landmasses but also by the prevailing winds. The wind was crucial to the success of maritime voyages. Sea lanes are pretty vital for seaborne trade.

Trade Route

A trade route is defined by a logistical network. This logistical network comprises a series of stoppages and pathways used for the commercial transport of goods. The same term can also be utilized for executing trade over water bodies. A trade route is vital as it allows the goods to travel to distant markets. A single trade route also comprises long-distance arteries which may be connected to smaller networks of non-commercial and commercial transportation routes. One of the most popular trade routes is the Amber Road. It served as a reliable network to carry out long-distance trade. Along the Spice Route, maritime trade became popular during the Middle Ages. That was the time when many nations believed in military means to control this route. For instance, organizations like the Hanseatic League aimed to secure the interests of the traders. That’s why trade became increasingly popular.

In the modern age, commercial activity shifted from major trade routes of the Old World to the newer ways between newly formed states and nations. This activity was executed without the old-age protection of trade. Moreover, it was carried out under international free trade agreements, which permitted the commercial goods to cross borders with no strict restrictions. It is imperative to mention modern transportation modes too. For instance, pipeline transport is quite popular and cost-effective at the same time. Well-known trade routes involve rail routes, cargo airlines, and vehicles.

Maritime Transport

Maritime transport, also known as ocean transport, or usually waterborne transport, is the transport of people or cargo through waterways. Throughout history, cargo transport across the high seas has been quite common. However, with the emergence of aviation, there has been a reduction in the number of people preferring ships over airlines. But waterborne transport is still favored over short routes and pleasure cruises. Waterborne transport is affordable when compared to airborne transport despite the introduction of fluctuating exchange rates. Moreover, fees have been levied in addition to freight charges for the carrier companies. This is known as the currency adjustment factor as per the UNCTAD in 2020.

Maritime transport can be executed by any capable vessel over any distance and water bodies. Shipping is ideal for recreation, commerce, and for military purposes. No doubt, extensive inland shipping is on a steady decline nowadays. But the major waterways of the world, including a large number of canals, are still imperative and integral parts of the economies around the globe. To be precise, any material can be moved by water. However, waterborne cargo transportation loses importance when time is a critical factor. Still, transport via water is cost-effective with the easy availability of cargo ships. It is also famous for trans-oceanic ferrying of consumer goods like coke, coal, ores, or grains. Also, the industrial revolution took place at a time when waterborne transport supported the ferrying of bulk goods.

The evolution of containers revolutionized the maritime trade. It started in the 1970s with various types of goods packed in cases, boxes, barrels, and pallets. When the cargo is ferried in more than a singular mode, it is co-modal or intermodal.

List of Waterways

List of Interoceanic Canals

Canal of the PharaohsEgyptUsed during late period to early Islamic period (In ruins)Atlantic Ocean (Mediterranean Sea), Indian Ocean (Red Sea)
Suez CanalIsthmus of SuezCompleted 1869 (In-operation)Atlantic Ocean (Mediterranean Sea), Indian Ocean (Red Sea)
Palestine CanalIsrael and PalestineProposedAtlantic Ocean (Mediterranean Sea), Indian Ocean (Red Sea)
Panama CanalIsthmus of PanamaCompleted 1914 (In-operation)Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean Sea), Pacific Ocean
Nicaragua CanalCentral AmericaProposedAtlantic Ocean (Caribbean Sea), Pacific Ocean
Honduras CanalCentral AmericaProposedAtlantic Ocean (Caribbean Sea), Pacific Ocean
Guatemala CanalCentral AmericaProposedAtlantic Ocean (Caribbean Sea), Pacific Ocean
Mexico CanalIsthmus of TehuantepecProposedAtlantic Ocean (Gulf of Mexico), Pacific Ocean
Thai Canal (Kra Canal)Malay PeninsulaProposedIndian Ocean (Andaman Sea), Pacific Ocean (Gulf of Thailand)
White Sea-Baltic CanalRussiaCompleted 1933 (In-operation)Atlantic Ocean (Baltic Sea), Arctic Ocean (White Sea)

List of Transcontinental Canals

Grand CanalChinese subcontinentConstruction began 15th c. BC, 1st major section completed in 6th c. BC, 1st Grand Canal completed 6th c. CE (In-operation)South China, North China Plain
Rhine-Main-Danube CanalEuropeproposed by Charlemagne, After War WWII re-construction completed 1992 (In-operation)North Sea, Black Sea
Saint Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes WaterwayEastern North AmericaCompleted 1959 (In-operation)Great Lakes, Atlantic Ocean (Gulf of Saint Lawrence)
Mississippi River SystemCentral United StatesIn-operationGulf of Mexico, Great Lakes
Intracoastal WaterwayEast Coast and South Coast of North AmericaIn-operationBoston, Chesapeake, Florida, Brownsville
Unified Deep Water System of European RussiaRussiaIn-operationBaltic Sea, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, White Sea
Eurasia Canal (Caspian Canal)CaucasusProposedCaspian Sea, Black Sea
Iranrud (Caspian Canal)IranProposedCaspian Sea, Indian Ocean (Persian Gulf or Gulf of Oman)
Canal des Deux MersFranceIn-operationMediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean

International Maritime Waterways

Maritime WaterwaysNote
Danish straitsGreat Belt, Øresund
Turkish StraitsBosphorus, Sea of Marmara, Dardanelles
Strait of Malacca

International Inland Waterways

Inland WaterwaysThrough
St. Croix River Canada, United States
Danube Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Ukraine, Romania
Rhine Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France, Netherlands
Mekong China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam
Nile River Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda
Lake Victoria Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya
Congo River and its tributaries Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic
Colorado River US, Mexico
Great Lakes Waterway US, Canada

Waterways by Country

ArgentinaRio de La Plata, Parana River
AustraliaMurray River
AustriaDanube River
AzerbaijanCaspian Sea
BelgiumMeuse River, Scheldt River
BoliviaLake Titicaca
BrazilAmazon River, Parana River
CanadaSaint John (Woolastook) River, Northwest Passage, Saint Lawrence Seaway, Mackenzie River, St. Marys River and canal of Ontario, Detroit River, St. Clair River, Welland Canal, Lake St. Clair, Lake Superior, Saskatchewan River, Hudson Strait and Hudson Bay, Great Bear Lake, including Port Radium
ChileValdivia River, Bueno River (before 1960 Valdivia earthquake)
ChinaAmur River, Yalu River, Yangtze River, Yellow River
EgyptNile River, Lake Nasser, Suez Canal, Gulf of Suez, Gulf of Aqaba
FranceRhine River, Rhone River, Seine River, Meuse River
GermanyRhine River, Main River, , Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, Danube River, Elbe River, Kiel Canal
India-BangladeshBrahmaputra river - Sadiya to Dhubri stretch (891 km), Ganges river - Prayagraj to Haldia stretch (1,620 km)
IranCaspian Sea, Persian Gulf
NetherlandsIJsselmeer, Meuse (Maas), Rhine River, Scheldt River, Waal River
PakistanChenab River, Indus River
ParaguayParaná River, Paraguay River
PeruAmazon River, Lake Titicaca
PhilippinesSan Bernardino Strait, Surigao Strait, Manila Bay
RomaniaDanube River, Danube-Black Sea Canal
RussiaVolga-Baltic Waterway, White Sea - Baltic Canal, Amur River, Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Dnieper River, Don River, Lena River, Neva River, Ob River
SerbiaDanube River, Sava River
SlovakiaDanube River
SwitzerlandLake Constance, Lake Geneva, Rhine River
TurkeyBosporus, Dardanelles, Sea of Marmara, Black Sea
UkraineDnieper River
United KingdomRiver Severn, Thames River, Humber River
United StatesMississippi River System, Missouri River, Ohio River, St. Lawrence Seaway, Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Chesapeake Bay, Columbia River, Delaware River, Detroit River, Erie Canal, Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Sacramento River, Savannah River, St. Clair River, St. Marys River and canal of Michigan, Tennessee River, Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway
UruguayRio de la Plata, Uruguay River
VietnamMekong River