Chinese characters on a fence that surrounds a construction project being run by a Chinese firm in Port Fuad where many of the Suez Canal's operations haved been moved to from Port Said, much to the annoyance of many locals who have lost work. The Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea, at Port Said, with the Red Sea at Suez. It is hugely important for the world's trade, with eight percent of global sea trade relying on the waterway. An average of 40 to 50 ships enter each day to make the fourteen hour transit of its 118.2 mile length. Before it opened, in 1869, ships travelling to Asian ports had to circumvent the African continent thus adding an extra 5580 miles to their journey. The canal is also vital to Egypt's economy, responsible for 2.5 percent of the country's GDP and raising USD 4.7 billion annually.