Egypt is keen on tapping into the potential offered by China’s Silk Road Economic Belt trade union especially in the context of linking the project to the Suez Canal.
The country officially joined the initiative last week and will be represented by the Egyptian Businessmen Association (EBA), Daily News Egypt reports.
According to EBA executive director Mohamed Youssef, cited by the newspapers, China aims to raise $2.5tn in trade volume to the Silk Road trade union in 10 years and has already offered to link the project to the Suez Canal.
The move comes as Egypt gears up to attract more cargo with the opening of the New Suez Canal set for August 6th, 2015.
The expansion work has reached 85 percent completion, with 43 dredging machines working round the clock to meet the deadline for excavation completion scheduled for July 15.
Once the two-way highway is completed, Egypt expects that up to 20,000 ships will transit the route on a yearly basis.
The expansion project will pave the way for a transit of ships of up to 20 meters in draft, thus increasing the revenue of the canal to up to USD 17 billion a year.
The USD 40 billion Silk Road Fund, proposed by the Chinese President Xi Jinping in December 2014, has been officially launched earlier this year. The fund is intended to revive maritime and land trade links between Asian countries by financing construction of infrastructural solutions and industrial and financial cooperation to reduce bottlenecks.
The Silk Road Economic Belt aims to link Asia, Africa and Europe by reopening the links between China and Europe though the Middle East, Central Asian, South China Sea, the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean, to East and South Africa.
World Maritime News Staff