Work on deepening the Suez Canal to 62 feet (18.9 m) from 60 feet will be completed soon, a Suez Canal Authority official said. "Work on deepening the canal has come to an end, except for a 1.5-km (one-mile) stretch of hard rock which will take at least another one and a half months to complete," Abdel-Fatah al-Miqati, a board member
at the Authority, said.
Miqati was referring to a project that began in 1997. He said work had begun the next phase to deepen the canal to 66 feet, due to be completed by 2005. He said these operations were part of an overall plan to widen the canal to 400 m and deepen it to 72 feet by 2010. The canal will now be able to accommodate ships up to 200,000 tons. Fees from the Suez Canal constitute one of Egypt's main sources of foreign currency.