Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi officially inaugurated the New Suez Canal in the port city of Ismailiya at 2 pm local time today.
The USD 8 billion project, which took 11 months to complete, included the widening and deepening of 35 kilometers of the existing Canal up to a depth of 24 meters, as well as digging and creating 37 kilometers of the so-called ”second lane,” running parallel to the existing Canal.
The new 72-km section of the Canal is expected to bring three times more revenue to Egypt by 2023. Egypt expects that up to 20,000 ships will transit the route on a yearly basis. The new stretch of the Canal is also projected to cut transit times from 20 to about 11 hours.
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.
Trade analysts say that it is yet unclear whether the New Suez Canal will spur more traffic or better accommodate the major rise in throughput since 2011 as macroeconomic factors and toll levels may be far more influential in determining future shipment volumes than the introduction of the two-way traffic.
World Maritime News Staff