Egypt’s Suez Canal’s expansion project is likely to be completed after two years of work in July 2023, according to Osama Rabie, the chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA).
The SCA declared accelerated plans for extension of the second channel of the canal and to enlarge an existing channel owing to the Ever Given container ship which ran aground and blocked the waterway for six days last year.
“The project will be completed in 24 months. We started in July 2021 and God willing we will finish in July 2023,” stated Chairman Osama Rabie on the sidelines of an event in Dubai.
Rabie added that the ships pass through the canal in processions, and the extension of the second lane would increase capacity by six ships.
The southernmost 30 km of the canal will be widened 40 meters eastward and deepened to 72 feet from 66 feet, according to lately disclosed plans.
“This will improve ship navigation by 28% in this difficult part of the canal,” Rabie asserted.
He mentioned that the Suez Canal Authority and its companies were responsible for the development of the entire project.
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“There’s no discrimination when it comes to a country flag on ships, and Iranian oil does pass through the canal,” stated Rabie when asked about shipments of Iranian fuel or oil passing through the Suez Canal despite U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil sales.
Last year, Lebanese armed group Hezbollah imported Iranian fuel to address shortages, it said. Shipments were routed via Syria for avoiding complications with sanctions.
Rabie further announced that the Suez Canal has witnessed a record number of ships transiting the 1859-built canal in 2021, after 20,694 vessels passed through, generating a total revenue of a whopping $6.3 billion, despite being blocked by the 20,388 TEU megaship Ever Given for six long days back in March, 2021.