In a conference held in Ismailia, Mohab Mamish, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, announced the plan to dig a new canal parallel to the Suez Canal.
Mamish said “this giant project will be the creation of a new Suez Canal parallel to the current channel of a total length of 72 kilometres (44.74 miles)”.
The new channel is part of a larger project to expand Suez port and shipping facilities in an effort that aims to lift Egypt’s international profile and establish it as a major trade hub.
The Suez Canal Axis project is expected to provide nearly one million job opportunities, Mamish announced. He added that Egypt intends for the country’s own companies to build the new giant waterway.
The Suez Canal is one of Egypt’s main sources of hard currency, bringing Egypt over $5 billion in revenues annually in the time when foreign direct investment and tourism decline significantly following and the 2011 revolution, decreasing the amount of hard currency coming into the country.
The new Suez Canal Axis project is made to attract more ships through the fastest trade route between Europe and Asia, thus generating more income.
During the conference, President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi announced the winning consortium parties were the Egyptian Armed Forces Engineering Authority and Dar Al-Handasah, a global engineering firm. Al-Sisi said that the Armed Forces would be in charge of the new project for security reasons. Some 20 Egyptian firms might be involved in the project but would work under military supervision, he said.
It is estimated that the project will cost Egypt nearly $4 billion. Once the project is completed, it will reduce passing ships’ waiting time from 11 hours to only three hours. Also, it will increase the number of current containers in the course up to 97 in 2023 from the current 23.
The Suez Canal, which links the Mediterranean and Red Seas, took 10 years of intense and poorly-paid work by Egyptians.