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Choke Points: Global Trade Lifelines



  Apr 19, 2024

Choke Points: The Lifelines and Vulnerabilities of Global Trade



What is a choke point?

A choke point refers to a point of natural congestion along two broader and more critical navigable passages. In military strategy, it is a geographical feature on land such as a valley, defile or bridge, or maritime passage through a critical waterway such as a strait.

Why are choke points important for global trade?

Choke points are vital for global trade as they are naturally narrow shipping channels with high traffic due to their strategic locations. Approximately 80% of global merchandise is shipped via sea, and these waterways are used by thousands of vessels a year.

What are the risks associated with choke points?

Choke points pose several risks. Structural risks include ships crashing along the shore of a canal if the passage is too narrow, causing traffic jams that can last for days. Geopolitical risks include high traffic leading to blockades or deliberate disruptions during political turmoil or unrest. Maritime piracy incidents, hijacking, and other crimes are also threats.

What are some of the major choke points in the world?

Some of the famous maritime choke points around the world are:

● The Strait of Malacca in the Indian Ocean
● The Strait of Hormuz, controlled by Iran
● The Suez Canal
● The Panama Canal
● The Strait of Bosporus (Turkish Strait)
● The three Danish Straits
● The Bab el-Mandeb Strait



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