The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has hired the Belgian dredging and marine engineering group DEME to dredge a side channel to provide access to the eastern part of Port Said’s port.
The side channel will allow smaller vessels in the Mediterranean a twenty-four hour access to East Port Said instead of current eight-hour access. 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 channel will be 9.5 km long, 250 m wide and 18.5 m deep. Both Congo River and Nile River dredgers will execute the deepening dredging works.
The project is carried out by the consortium Dredging International (DEME Group) and Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company (US), which carried out the lot 6 for the expansion of the Suez Canal earlier this year.
DEME also won work in Panama for Autoridad Canal de Panama (ACP) on the further widening and deepening of the pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, where DEME already worked between 2009 and 2012.
The planned maintenance and deepening dredging works are meant to facilitate the increasing shipping traffic and the arrival of larger ships (type Post-Panamax) through the connecting canal. The existing entrance southbound of the Americas Bridge will be broadened over a distance of 7 km by 37 metres on both sides, making the total width 300 m.
In addition, DEME has won a contract for facilitating access to Mersin International Port (MIP) on the Mediterranean in southern Turkey, currently under expansion with the aim of welcoming bigger ships with deeper draught. The contract will be executed with MIP, a joint venture between the Port of Singapore Authority and the Turkish infrastructure investment holding Akfen.
DEME’s dredging works will be carried out by Amazone and Uilenspiegel dredgers over the next 7 months.
The three dredging contracts with have a total value of 150 million euros, the company said, adding that the execution will start immediately and will happen on a tight schedule.