Naval traffic in the Suez Canal and industrial activity came to a grinding halt on Thursday morning as Egypt's Suez governorate was hit by a massive power outage that caused estimated losses of LE100 million, Al-Ahram's Arabic news website reported.
Many parts of Egypt experienced a simultaneous blackout in the early hours of Thursday, due to what the electricity ministry described as "technical problems" in the national grid.
Egypt's Suez Canal Authority declared a state of emergency as the blackout caused a paralysis in the movement of ships through the vital waterway when communications were hit, including mobile phone coverage in the area.
A state of emergency was also declared as the blackout halted operations in 10 oil refineries and pumping stations in Suez after 6am, interrupting supplies to Cairo and Alexandria until power was restored later in the afternoon, according to Al-Ahram.
Iron and steel plants in the Red Sea towns of Ain Sokhna and Ataqa were also hit, as experts warned that losses could climb to LE1 billion if the power outages continued.
Thursday's blackout is the largest simultaneous power outage seen this summer in Egypt, which has been plagued by daily power outages as the government struggles to supply power stations with necessary natural gas quantities to meet peaking consumption.
Egypt dropped 14 places to rank 121st out of 144 countries in terms of electricity supply in the 2014/2015 World Economic Forum's annual Global Competitiveness Index, published on Wednesday.