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Suez Canal chief says Egypt is considering further expansion of waterway

THE Egypt is studying further extensions of it Suez Canal to expand and complete a second channel, the head of the Canal said today, a movement that will increase the number of crossings and prevent phenomena of complete paralysis.

The remarks come as the canal's revenue plummets as shipping companies avoid the waterway, the shortest route between Europe and Asia, because of attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels on merchant ships in Eritrea. Sea.

Anyone extension will be added to current tasks for the extension of the second canal by 10 kilometers, as well as for the deepening and widening of a section of the canal.

This work was accelerated after the Ever Given, a giant container ship, ran aground on part of the canal in March 2021, halting traffic for six days.

The canal is a key source of foreign exchange for debt-ridden Egypt, which spent about $8.2 billion to expand the canal that opened in 2015 and included the creation of a 35-kilometer parallel waterway.

The canal's revenue rose gradually but fell short of official forecasts, reaching a record $9.4 billion in the fiscal year ending June 2023, before falling 40 percent early this year due to Houthi attacks.

Initial studies for additional canal expansion will take approximately 16 months and will include feasibility studies, environmental and engineering studies, as well as ground and dredging surveys, Suez Canal Authority (SCA) president Osama Rabi said in a statement.

The project should be approved by the government and financed through the SCA's investment budget, to avoid “burdening the general budget of the state with additional burdens”, the statements added.

Rabi said this will increase the canal's competitiveness and enable it to accommodate more and larger ships.

The 2015 expansion of the canal is one of the grandiose projects implemented under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, which his critics say has contributed to tight currency and increased debt.

Officials said spending on non-essential projects would be cut as foreign currency shortages worsened over the past two years.

Source: News Beast

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