Egypt on a War Footing to Expand Suez Canal

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

March 5, 2015

Image by Suez Canal Authority

Image by Suez Canal Authority

 The Suez Canal Authority is in a race to quickly expand the vital waterway for two-way traffic by August 2015, says an Associate Press report. Workers dig round the clock on Suez Canal expansion, hoping for surge in East-West trade.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has made the project a point of nationalist glory, not to mention a cornerstone of plans to revive the economy. 
But while shippers say more ships may be drawn by shorter waiting times, ambitions to nearly triple revenues depend mainly on growth in the world economy. Any major increase, however, depends on something unlikely to happen soon — a large jump in European demand fueling greater shipping from Asia.
However, 89% of dredging work has been completed on the new Suez Canal. About 278 million cubic meters of mud and other materials have been dug up and rate of dredging has increased by 130%.
Egypt has imported tunnel boring machines from Germany to dig tunnels beneath the new Suez Canal  and link Sinai to the Canal’s west bank.
Meanwhile Suez Canal revenues have reached more than EGP 24,9494bn ($3,2673bn) during the first 7 months of the current fiscal year (FY) 2014/2015.
From 1 July 2014 to 31 January 2015, 10,399 vessels have crossed the canal waterway with 586.2m tonnes of cargo, according to the Suez Canal official statistics.
The statistics also confirmed that the Canal has recorded its highest monthly revenues in its history last August, an amount of $ 510m.
The chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, retired admiral Mohab Memish says that Egypt's military could help build an industrial hub around a new Suez Canal. He suggested that the armed forces may play an important role in the huge investment venture planned alongside the new waterway.
The army began in August digging the new $8 billion canal that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former military chief, wants completed within a year.
The chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, retired admiral Mohab Memish, told Reuters the army should also help develop the planned industrial and logistics hub.
The Egyptian authority managing the Suez Canal has asked Italy to invest in the project. It has shown to a delegation of Italian entrepreneurs visiting Egypt potential investment sectors and opportunities in the huge development project on which the partial doubling of the strategic canal is based.
“Top priority accorded to the Suez Canal development project,” the Minister of Investment Ashraf Salman said, according to a presidential statement. The projects’ master plan will be presented and four workshops will be designated for sectoral projects to be implemented in the Suez Canal region.
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