Construction of an extra 45-mile lane to be added to the existing Suez Canal has begun, to allow more ships to be using the canal each day.
The announcement was made on Tuesday this week by the President of Egypt Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. This is expected to boost trade in one of the most important canals for global trade. Through the canal, ships from Europe to Asia and vice versa do not have to pass through the Southern Africa.
However, the current state at the canal is that ships have occasional room to pass each other since it is one-way traffic canal. Addition of the lane will see ship travel at both directions for less than the 101 miles long canal. The current canal is an artificial sea-level waterway creation.
The addition of 6 tunnels will cut down hours spent travelling along the canal from 11 to about 3 hours.
[pull_quote_center]The Suez Canal Authority chairman Mr Mohab Mamish said, “This giant project will be the creation of a new Suez canal parallel to the current channel.” He hoped that the new lane would come online within one year. [/pull_quote_center]
This is a very large project. An analyst Mr. Angus Blair said that it was unclear to what extent the planned expansion would quicken current operations at the existing canal. Al-Sisi said that despite what, “this project must be finished in a year” although it was expected to take three years.
The construction expansion of Suez Canal will involve 37km of dry digging and expansion. The construction will also include the deepening of the existing canal by 35km. This is crucial to helping the vessels increase their speed while moving along the canal.
Sisi said that the project would not be funded externally but individuals Egyptians would make contributions for the project. He added, “We want all Egyptians to hold shares in this project.” He added that the project would help the country’s economy. The current operations at the canal source in a total of $5bn (£3bn) every year in foreign currency and in 2013, the canal attracted a total of nearly 6,600 ships.