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Egypt’s Suez Canal Expansion Plans Continue Amidst Political and Economic Challenges

March 5, 2024
Suez Canal expansion plans. Photo credit: Thierry Dosogne/Getty Images

The expansion project of the Suez Canal, which entails building a second channel of waterway is being further studied, Osama Rabie, the President of the Egyptian Suez Canal Authority, stated on 4 March.

A second channel of the waterway is planned to be created by deepening and widening a section of the canal.

“We have studied the full duplication of the Suez Canal, with 80 kilometers remaining to be duplicated, 50 kilometers in the north and 30 kilometers in the south,” Rabie reported.

The preliminary studies for the expansion were presented to Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

The study phase includes viability, environmental, engineering, civil, soil, dredging, and other related studies, according to the President of the Canal Authority.

He stated, “The authority will work in cooperation with leading global consulting firms specialized in this field to complete the study phase within 16 months.”

The Suez Canal is one of Egypt’s most profitable projects. The canal’s profit in November 2023 was 20.3 percent higher than in November 2022, reaching USD 854.7 million (EGP 26.4 billion) as opposed to the year before’s record of USD 710.3 million (EGP 21.9 billion), according to Rabie. The number of ships passing through the Canal in November 2023 exhibited an uptick, reaching 2264, in contrast to 2171 in November 2022, reflecting a 4.3 percent rise in ship traffic.

Rabie’s comment on 4 March 2022 is against the backdrop of a decline in the canal’s revenue. The Suez Canal revenues decreased by 40 to 50 percent this year as a result of the ongoing regional developments, the Egyptian President stated on 19 February during the Egypt Energy Show (EGYPES 2024).

The Houthis in Yemen have been attacking international ships crossing the Red Sea in the region as a way to protest against the ongoing Hamas-Israeli war in Gaza. This is causing political tensions and safety hazards in the Red Sea area, prompting leading shipping firms to avoid the Egyptian waterway.

Preventing future blockages like the one caused by Evergreen in 2021, Egypt plans to continue the expansion work, aiming to allow more ships to pass through the canal and avoid disruptions to traffic.

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