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Egypt studies plan to expand Suez Canal to speed up transit time

A container ship travelling through the Suez Canal in Egypt

Photo by Bloomberg

4th March 2024

By: Bloomberg

  

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Egypt is carrying out a feasibility study on further expanding the Suez Canal in a push to speed up transit times and avert potential blockages in a waterway that carries 12% of global maritime trade.

The project is meant to turn single-lane segments — 50 kilometers in the northern segment and 30 kilometers in its southern part — into double lane crossings, Suez Canal Authority chief Osama Rabie said at an event on Sunday.

The proposals build on plans first aired in 2021 after the grounding of the giant Ever Given vessel that largely shuttered part of the vital route for nearly a week. Nearly a decade ago, Egypt completed an $8-billion expansion of the canal aimed at slashing waiting times and drawing in more ships.

Initial studies were concluded and submitted to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who will receive the final proposal when it’s ready for approval, Rabie said. It was unclear how much the expansion could cost, and he didn’t make clear a potential timeline for the project’s completion.

Two companies — ACE Moharram-Bakhoum and Dar Al-Handasah — are currently conducting a feasibility study for the project and considering possible partners. The expansion will make “transiting the Suez Canal 100% safe,” Rabie said.

Revenue from the canal — vital funding for Egypt — has been hit hard since Yemen’s Houthi militants began targeting ships on the Red Sea in retaliation for Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Edited by Bloomberg

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