Egypt has launched a major expansion of the Suez Canal. It was inaugurated by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a lavish ceremony held at port city of Ismailiya ( located on west bank of canal).
Suez Canal expansion project
- The project was started in August 2014 for the expansion of the Ballah Bypass from 61 metres to 312 metres. The project was dubbed as the New Suez Canal.
- Expansion aims to increase the traffic handled by the canal in order to boost Egypt’s economy and global standing by turning the Suez Canal zone into a global logistics and trade center.
- Completed in one year span with an estimated cost of US 8 billion dollars. It comprises 72km of new channel and bypasses which has deepened the main waterway.
- It allows ships especially larger vessels to transit the canal in both directions simultaneously, thus increasing canal traffic and revenue.
- The expansion is expected to double the ship capacity of the Suez Canal from 49 to 97 ships a day by 2023.
About Suez Canal
- Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt. It links the Mediterranean with the Red Sea through Isthmus of Suez. It was first opened in 1869 after a decade of construction.
- Strategically and economically it is one of the most important waterways in the world providing the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe.
- Its opening had provided alternative route to sea voyage between Europe and India. It had reduced the sea voyage distance between these two regions by about 7,000 kilometres without navigating around Africa.
- The canal was nationalised by Egypt in 1956 after brief war against the UK, France and Israel. The canal has been a significant income source for Egypt since then.