Owner wants to widen southern part of the Suez Canal

The owner and operator of the Suez Canal wants to widen the southern part of the shipping route. The chairman of the state-owned company announced this in a televised speech. Earlier this year, the container ship Ever Given ran aground and blocked the southern part of the Suez Canal for days.

The 400-metre Ever Given got stuck in the shallower sides of the Egyptian canal in March after stormy weather. It took almost a week before the container ship was refloated with the help of the Dutch company Smit Salvage.

Also read: Suez Canal considers expansion after mega-container ship grounding

The consequences for the international transport of goods were considerable. Some 350 ships had to wait because of the blockade. Some ships made a detour via the Cape of Good Hope. The Suez Canal is an important shipping route for international trade between Asia and Europe. Every day, ships transport goods worth about USD 10 billion through the Canal.

Also read: Container ship Ever Given grounding: Could it happen again?

Chairman Osama Rabie of the Suez Canal Authority announced the proposed widening during an event attended by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. Other projects were also announced, such as a new museum and a stadium.

Earlier expansion of the Suez Canal

Egypt already opened a “new” Suez Canal in 2015, which ran parallel to the old canal over a distance of 72 kilometres and was intended to facilitate the passage of ships. Existing sections of the canal were also made deeper. But this job, which cost about EUR 7.2 billion, mainly renovated the northern part.

Also read: Huge container ship blocks Suez Canal

Source: ANP

Picture by the Suez Canal Authority.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.