A new side channel is about to be built near the Suez Canal to allow smaller vessels in the Mediterranean a twenty-four hour access to East Port Said instead of current eight-hour access, Reuters reports, citing Klaus Holm Laursen, managing director of Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT).
The USD 60 million-worth canal is aimed at allowing vessels to enter and exit East Port Said, without hindering the Suez Canal convoys.
The project was originally scheduled to be completed by 2012, but it was delayed on several occasions. The dredging operations for the new waterway were launched in January, 2013, according to Inchape Shipping, when SCCT was still in discussions with the port authority and the Ministry of Transport on how best to implement the new side channel.
As informed, the construction of the new canal is set to start following the inauguration of the New Suez Canal set for August 6th and is expected to last seven months. The side channel would feature 9.5 km in lenght, 18.5 metres in depth, and 250 metres in width. SCCT plans to assign USD 15 million for the construction project.
The first ships have already tested the expanded Suez Canal as the countdown begins for the official opening of the USD 8 billion waterway.
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.
World Maritime News Staff