The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) achieved an increase in turnover of $60 million in 1999 to a total of $1.8 billion, due mainly to toll discounts for long-distance ships. Chairman Ahmed Fadel said projects to transfer oil through pipelines, such as those in Russia, and also the SUMED oil pipeline, linking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, "have definitely affected the amount of oil traveling through the Suez Canal".
Fadel said the Suez Canal would increase its depth to between 70 and 72 feet by 2010 to accommodate modern ships with a loading capacity of 300,000 to 350,000 tons of cargo.
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) also announced that it will keep its transit fees unchanged in 2000 for the seventh year in a row, an SCA official said.
An economic slowdown and fluctuating oil prices were
behind the decision to fix the tolls, the official said.