trade routes

Most of the world's shipping travels a relatively small number of major ocean routes: the North Atlantic, between Europe and eastern North America; the Mediterranean-Asian route via the Suez Canal; the Panama Canal route connecting Europe and the eastern American coasts with the western American coasts and Asia; the South African route linking Europe and America with Africa; the South American route from Europe and North America to South America; the North Pacific route linking western America with Japan and China; and the South Pacific route from western America to Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, and southern Asia. The old Cape of Good Hope route pioneered by Vasco da Gama and shortened by the Suez Canal has returned to use for giant oil tankers plying between the Persian Gulf and Europe and America. Many shorter routes, including coastal routes, are heavily traveled.