The Egyptian government is pressing ahead with the first major expansion of the canal in almost 150 years, to allow ships to pass north and south concurrently, reports Telegraph.
The Suez Canal Area Development and the Second Suez Canal Projects are the most important drivers of economic recovery in Egypt and mark a turning point for a country that has been marred by continuing instability.
The project – which has been underwritten by Egyptians subscribing to around $8bn (£5.2bn) of canal investment certificates – will have a similar impact on the economy as the original route. The Egyptian public financed the new canal by investing $8.5bn in just eight days.
These two projects will transform several cities along the canal, as well as construct a new Suez Canal, and importantly will create hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next three to five years.
Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi said he hopes the Suez Canal expansion project will increase his country’s foreign cash reserves during his meetings while on an official visit to China earlier this week. Egypt expects the expanded canal will bring in more $100 billion annually.
The canal, which links the Mediterranean
and the Red Sea, is the fastest shipping route between Europe
and Asia. It handles 7% of global sea-borne trade, and is one of Egypt's main sources of foreign currency income.
The new lane will allow two-way traffic in part of the canal, reducing transit and waiting times. Officials say it will double the capacity of the existing waterway and almost triple revenues in fewer than 10 years, from $5.3bn (£3.5bn) in 2014 to $13.2bn in 2023.
As well as building a second channel, Egypt plans to create a major logistics and shipping corridor alongside the canal banks.
Officials have dubbed the project "the Great Egyptian Dream", and the nation has bought into it - quite literally. The project will be "a rebirth" for Egypt, according to the Head of the Suez Canal Authority, Adm Mohab Mameesh.
The original Suez Canal first opened for navigation in the 19th century and has survived Egyptian government transitions
, two World Wars, and regional instability by remaining an essential part of world trade networks.