Egypt’s New Suez Canal will open later this year on August 6. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sees the project as a symbol of national pride and a chance to stimulate an economy, Reuters reports.
The Egyptian army “began work 10 months ago on the $8 billion canal, flanking the existing, historic 145-year-old waterway and part of a larger undertaking to expand trade along the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia,” according to the news agency.
“The digging and dredging works will conclude on July 15. The opening of the New Suez Canal will be on Aug. 6, according to the orders of the Egyptian people and the Egyptian president,” Mohab Mameesh, chairman and managing director of the Suez Canal Authority said.
He also added that “once President al-Sisi orders the start of navigation on Aug. 6, ships will be able to go through the canal.“
The new canal will reduce navigation time for ships to 11 hours from about 22 hours.
The existing canal earns Egypt around $5 billion per year. However, the new canal, which will allow two-way traffic of larger ships, is supposed to increase revenues by 2023 to $15 billion, Mameesh said.
According to Wikipedia:
“The Suez Canal (Arabic: قناة السويس Qanāt al-Suwais) is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting theMediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened 17 November 1869, after 10 years of construction, it allows ships to travel between Europe and South Asia without navigating around Africa thereby reducing the sea voyage distance between Europe and India by about 7,000 kilometres (4,300 mi). The northern terminus is Port Said; the southern terminus is Port Tewfik at the city of Suez. Ismailia is on its west bank, 3 km (1.9 mi) from the half-way point. In 2012, 17,225 vessels traversed the canal (47 per day).
In August 2014, construction was launched to construct a second canal, the New Suez Canal, for half of the route of the canal, costing $8.4 billion, to increase the canal’s capacity. Funding was arranged by issuing interest-bearing investment certificates exclusively to Egyptian entities and individuals and the target amount was collected over only six working days. The expansion is expected to double the capacity of the Suez Canal from 49 to 97 ships a day.“