As Egypt is set to inaugurate its ‘new’ Suez Canal in an extravagant event that will see several world leaders converge at the opening ceremony, international media has been busy publishing numerous reports and analyses on the impacts of the New Suez Canal.
Below is a snippet of various international media outlets’ coverage of the new canal.
The New York Times
In David Kirkpatrick’s New York Times’ article on the New Suez Canal, the focus is on what the new Canal means for President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s power and reputation.
The article does not go into much detail or analysis about the Canal, but cites economists as saying that the Canal is “unlikely to transform the water passage from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. The added capacity will do little, they say, because the canal has not been operating at full capacity anyway, and global shipping remains in a slump.”
Particularly, David Kirkpatrick focuses on the celebrations and Egyptian media coverage of the event.
In one of the most widely shared pieces about the Suez Canal, Bloomberg’s Ahmed Feteha writes a detailed piece which questions whether the world really needs the new Suez Canal.
“Less clear are the economic benefits of what billboards in Cairo and New York’s Times Square dub “Egypt’s gift to the world,” writes Feteha in the piece.
Citing several researchers, including those from BMI Research, EFG-Hermes, Banchero Costa & Co. and others, the article focuses on how the Canal will unlikely lead to an increase in ships passing through the Canal or much economic advantage, particularly due to global trade volume levels.
However, at the very end of the piece, Feteha quotes a spokesman for Maersk Line, the world’s biggest container shipping company, as stating that the project was “a necessity to maintain the attractiveness of the Suez Canal.”
Agence France Presse’s Jay Deshmukh focuses on the greater context of the new Suez Canal in the political and social scene in Egypt.
Beyond referring to the recent threats to Egypt’s security, specifically following ISIS’ latest video which threatened to kill a Croatian hostage within 48 hours if Egypt did not comply with its demands, Deshmukh refers to several academics who claim that the new Canal will cement Sisi’s legitimacy.
Amr Adly, of the Carnegie Middle East Center, said that “the ability to accomplish such an economic project is part of cementing this legitimacy.”
Meanwhile, Fawaz Gerges of the London School of Economics and Political Science called the New Suez Canal a “magnificent project” but added that more needs to be done to “resolve the structural challenge facing the economy.”
Like the piece published by AFP, Sky News’ Sherine Tadros contextualizes the New Suez Canal while referring to analysts in the piece.
According to the CEO of the Signet Institute Angus Blair, the new Canal will likely bring in extra revenue and boost economic recovery. However, this will not be enough to meet the growing Egyptian population’s needs.
“I think it would be good to have more infrastructure spending across the country as well, to get people back to work near where they live, so that people can see changes in their environment – not just far away,” says Blair to Sky News.
“But one thing I would say about the Suez Canal is that we can’t really put a price on a change in national sentiment.”
Writing for Financial Times, Heba Saleh refers to multiple analysts and their expectations of the potential impact the new Canal can have on the world economy.
Peter Hinchliffe, secretary-general of the International Chamber of Shipping in London, spoke to Heba Saleh, stating that the expansion’s completion in a short amount of time was a “remarkable achievement” that would help make the Suez Canal “much more efficient.” However, Hinchliffe said that it would be difficult to predict whether traffic through the Canal would indeed double by 2023, but that the Canal’s expansion means that more ships are more likely to use it.
However, Issandr al-Ahrani of the International Crisis Group told the Financial Times that factors such as global trade, the oil price and the health of the Chinese would likely impact the levels of traffic through the Canal.
The New Suez Canal “is a historic milestone for the region”, declared Gulf News’ editorial board.
In its piece, Gulf News’ editorial board writes that “the Arab world has always looked up to Egypt as the inspiration behind much of its modernism, moderation and progress.”
Gulf News continues, stating that the “rapid strides of progress in Egypt stand out as a spectacular story of success and a beacon of hope in a region wracked by violence,” and that the Canal is a symbol of “new Egypt emerging from years of political unrest and economic challenges.”