East Port Said’s side canal was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by the vice admiral Mohab Mameesh, head of Suez Canal Authority, Daily News Egypt reports.
The inauguration followed a navigation test of the canal with the successful passage of the first shipping vessel through the channel which was en route to the Suez Canal.
The dredging of the canal has been implemented in a record time of three months instead of seven, in cooperation between Belgium’s Dredging International and U.S.-based Great Lakes.
“Developing the port will attract more ships to the port, as well as attract navigation lines, increase traffic and trade transiting the canal,” the country’s Prime Minister, Sherif Ismail is quoted as saying by state-run Nile TV.
East Port Said Canal lies at the northern entrance of the Suez Canal in the Mediterranean waters, encompassing a length of 9.5km and a depth of 18.5m.
The USD 37-million project included dredging of around 12.5 million cubic meters of sand, inserting of buoys and navigational signs.
The new branch canal aims at facilitating the passage of vessels arriving to and from East Port Said Harbor without hindering the Suez Canal convoys.
In addition, the channel should allow smaller vessels in the Mediterranean a twenty-four hour access to the port instead of current eight-hour access.
Egypt expects the inauguration of the canal to raise the port’s profile on an international scale and thus attract more cargo volumes to the port.
East Port Said port project is included in the Suez Canal region economic development activities, covering development of six ports, those being Sukhna, Adabeyia, El Tour, East Port Said port navigational channel and West Port Said port in addition to El Arish port.
World Maritime News Staff