The northern end of the Red Sea is bifurcated by the Sinai Peninsula, creating the Gulf of Suez in the west and the Gulf of Aqaba to the east. The Gulf of Suez is formed within a relatively young, but now inactive rift basin, the Gulf of Suez Rift, dating back about 28 million years. It stretches some 300 kilometres (190 mi) north by northwest, terminating at the Egyptian city of Suez and the entrance to the Suez Canal. Along the mid-line of the Gulf lies the border between the continents of Africa and Asia. The entrance of the Gulf lies atop the mature Gemsa oil and gas field.
The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows ship transport between Europe and Asia without navigation around Africa. The northern terminus is Port Said and the southern terminus is Port Tawfiq at the city of Suez. Ismailia lies on its west bank, 3 km (1.9 mi) from the half-way point.
Port Said has been ranked the second among the Egyptian cities according to the Human Development Index in 2009 and 2010, the economic base of the city is fishing and industries, like chemicals, processed food, and cigarettes. Port Said is also an important harbour for exports of Egyptian products like cotton and rice, but also a fueling station for ships that pass through the Suez Canal.