Egypt will launch a ‘new Suez canal’ shipping route this month (August 6) aimed at speeding up traffic along the existing waterway and boosting revenues, officials said.
Dubbed the Suez Canal Axis, the new 72-km project will run part of the way alongside the existing canal that connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.
It involves 37 km of dry digging and 35 km of expansion and deepening of the Suez Canal, in a bid to help speed up the movement of vessels.
A test-run ahead of the canal’s official opening was a success, according to leading the UAE-based National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC), which will announce completion of the project. A total of six container ships from around the world navigated the canal as part of the trial run on July 25.
It was not immediately clear when the canal would be effectively open for business following the launch.
President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi had launched the project in August 2014 and had set an ambitious target of digging the new canal in one year.
The project is part of a major plan to develop the zone around the canal into an industrial and commercial hub, that would include the construction of ports and provide shipping services. Authorities raised $9 billion to build the new canal by selling shares in the project to domestic investors, with private Egyptian companies tasked with its construction.