Egypt plans new Suez Canal
Egypt wants to build a new Suez Canal with a total length of 72 km, parallel to the current channel. The multi-billion dollar project is part of a larger plan to expand port and shipping facilities around the canal and facilitate trade along the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia. It is supposed to establish Egypt as a major trade hub.
The total estimated cost of drilling the new canal is said to be about USD 4 billion. The project is expected to be completed in five years, although Egypt hopes it will be finished in an ambitious one-year deadline. The armed forces will be in charge of the new project, for security reasons in the troubled region.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi wants to stimulate Egypt's struggling economy with this project. The Suez Canal earns the country about USD 5 billion a year and an official in the Suez Canal Authority told Reuters the new canal was set to boost annual revenues to USD 13.5 billion by 2023.
In addition to the Panama Canal currently being expanded (see ITJ breaking news of 5 August 2014), Nicaragua is also pursuing the idea of building a canal of its own (see ITJ Daily of 11 July). In the meantime, some shipping companies such as Maersk have switched from using the Panama to the Suez Canal for trades from Asia to the US east coast, as it deems the route to be more profitable for large vessels.