The first three cargo ships passed through the New Suez Canal on July 25 in a test-run prior to the official inauguration of the USD 8 billion waterway set for August 6.
The first three ships to sail the New Suez Canal were an American container ship en route to Saudi Arabia from Egypt’s Port Said, a Danish container ship heading from Singapore to the United States, and a Bahraini boxship sailing from Saudi Arabia to Italy.
This was the first of several trials prior to the formal inauguration, said Mohab Mameesh, the chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, also adding that the project was 99.2 per cent complete on Saturday, and it should be completely finished in the following few days.Once the two-way highway is completed, Egypt expects that up to 20,000 ships will transit the route on a yearly basis. It is estimated that around 10% of all global maritime trade passes through the Suez Canal, equaling to 18,000 ships per year.
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.
In addition, over the next five years Egypt plans to invest into construction of an industrial and logistical zone along the canal in order to attract further investment into the area.
World Maritime News Staff; Images: Jan De Nul Group