A total of 14,019 ships passed through the Suez Canal between January and September 2020, or 165 more vessels than in the same period last year, the canal authority's chairman Osama Rabie told Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly at a meeting on Friday.
According to a cabinet statement, Rabie said that the last nine months saw the passing of the world's biggest container ship, with a total tonnage of 240,000 tons, through the waterway. The vessel, which is 400 metres long, with a beam of 61 metres and a depth of 33.2 metres, was carrying 23,964 containers.
Rabie also referred to the successful transfer of 12 giant pipes, over 500 metres long and with a diameter of 2.3 metres, from Norway to Bangladesh, in addition to several petroleum tankers loaded with 107 million tons of oil in the same period.
The chairman said that the authority is pushing to reach 95 ships a day by 2023, as well as diversifying the sources of revenues via related activities, boosting productivity and reducing the costs by utilising the latest technological techniques.
IKEA has directed its shipping agents to depend on the Suez Canal in place of the Cape of Good Hope during their trips from the east to the west, he added.
According to Rabie, the step came as part of a green marketing policy over concerns related to the increased emissions of greenhouse gases over long sailing distances.
The meeting also went into the latest developments on developing and upgrading navigation along the canal via implementing many ventures, such as upgrading 16 pilot stations and establishing ten emergency garages.
As part of a plan for digital transformation, the authority has developed programmes to make online reservations for ships and shipyard services easier.
The online services include requesting a transit, requesting a fee estimate prior to transit, ship repair and maintenance, rescue services, and quality services.
Egypt has stressed in the past months that traffic through its vital shipping route has not been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and shipping is proceeding at normal rates.
The canal, which is the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia, is one of Egypt's primary sources of foreign currency.