Egypt has announced plans to build a new canal alongside the Suez. The multibillion-dollar project is aimed at expanding trade along the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia.
On Tuesday, the chairman of the Suez Canal Authority said the agency would build a new canal alongside the near 145-year-old historic waterway.
"This giant project will be the creation of a new Suez Canal parallel to the current channel of a total length of 72 kilometers (45 miles)," Mohab Mamish told a conference in Ismailia, a port town on the Suez Canal, in comments broadcast by state television.
Mamish said the total estimated cost of digging for the project would be about $4 billion (2.9 billion euros). This would involve 35 kilometers of "dry digging" and 37 kilometers would be "expansion and deepening."
President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said 17 Egyptian companies would be involved in implementing the project under the supervision of the military. Plans include building an international industrial and logistics hub in the Suez Canal area.
The country has planned for years to develop the land around the Suez in order to attract more ships and generate more income. The current canal, which was completed in 1869 and stretches 193 km (120 miles), brings in about $5 billion in revenue per year. It is a vital source of hard currency for Egypt, which has suffered a slump in tourism and foreign investment since its 2011 uprising.
hc/mkg (Reuters, dpa)