In Video: Sisi witnesses inauguration of Suez Canal's new maritime units, Olympic Village

MENA , Ahram Online , Thursday 8 Sep 2022

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi witnessed Thursday the opening of the Suez Canal Authority’s (SCA) Olympic Village in Ismailia and the inauguration of new maritime units of the SCA.

A still photo of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi during the opening of the Suez Canal Authority s (SCA) Olympic Village and the inauguration of new naval units of the SCA in Ismailia governorate on Thursday


The village, which was established on a total area of 350,000 square metres, includes sports stadiums, swimming pools and a sports health club that houses a gym, sauna and jacuzzi, Mohamed Anani, the general supervisor of the SCA's Olympic Village project, said.

The village also contains a set of multiple courts for handball, basketball and volleyball training, in addition to a speedball court. Its main covered hall can accommodate about 2,300 spectators, is fully air-conditioned and contains four changing rooms and a VIP hall. 

The stadium of the SCA has a capacity of about 21,000 people and is equipped to receive people of determination.

The stadium was built and designed in line with the requirements of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

The new stadium also houses a hotel suite containing 60 hotel beds along with a 850 square metre health club.

Following his inspection of the Olympic Village, President El-Sisi left onboard one the authority's yachts to inaugurate a number of new maritime units for the SCA, including two new units affiliated with the SCA's dredging department.

President Sisi also witnessed the inauguration of the Azima 1 and Azima 2 locomotives along with the Karama 1 and Karama 2 ferries, which will be used to move people.

The president also attended the inauguration of Luxor 1 and Luxor 2 ferries and witnessed the launch of two yachts, which will join the fleet of the SCA. 

The president's inauguration of the Olympic Village along with new maritime units is an affirmation that the international waterway is a symbol of national pride for Egypt, affirmed SCA Chairman Osama Rabie.

For more than 150 years, great accomplishments have taken place in the Suez Canal, which is one of the most important waterways in the world, he further said.

Record revenues and development projects

During the inauguration ceremony, El-Sisi said the SCA has made huge revenues despite global recession and the outbreak of Covid-19.

The revenues of the canal overpasses the cost of digging the new canal, El-Sisi said recalling the wide debate that emerged following the inauguration of the Suez Canal expansion project in 2015.

In 2015, El-Sisi inaugurated the New Suez Canal in a ceremony attended by French, Russian, Arab, and African leaders. The new canal waterway is 35km long and is parallel to the old passage. Some 37km of the existing canal was also deepened and widened, bringing the total to 72km of two-directional traffic.

The president lashed out at all attempts that were meant to undermine Egyptian's morale, citing the huge revenues achieved by the SCA.

The SCA's revenues were between dlrs 4.8 bn to 5 bn but now range between dlrs 5.5 bn to 7 bn, he said, adding that the SCA's returns have far exceeded the amount raised for widening the waterway's course.

The Suez Canal is one of main sources for Egypt’s foreign currency that brought a record of $7 billion revenues in FY2021/22, up from $5.8 billion in the previous FY, according to SCA's figures.

In August 2022, the sea-level canal recorded its highest-ever monthly revenues of $744.8 million, in addition to the highest monthly transit of 2,125 ships.

Around 12 percent of global trade passes through the key international waterway – the fastest artery between Europe and Asia, according to Rabie.

Meanwhile, the president pointed out that ongoing Suez Canal projects – which aim to expand and develop the waterway – are being implemented and funded through the authority's revenues, noting that the new canal has contributed to increasing the revenues and the number of vessels passing through the waterway.

As part of the regular efforts to raise the efficiency of the infrastructure of the Suez Canal with the aim of preserving its strategic status, directives have been issued to start the implementation of an ambitious plan to develop the southern sector of the navigation course of the canal, said Rabie.

The development included the construction of four new basins, he said, adding that about six millions square metres were dredged.

Taking about the expansion project, Rabie said that the development works included raising the efficiency of 10 sediment basins and increasing the capacity to 145 million square metres.

SCA is keen on localising the national industry and enhancing the manufacture of maritime units that will be able to serve the navigation movement at the Suez Canal, affirmed Rabie.

Upon directives issued by El-Sisi, the SCA manufactured a number of maritime units, Rabie said, adding that the president inaugurated as many as 42 maritime units last year, and 16 new maritime units will join the SCA's fleet in the coming period.

El-Sisi said the final dredging and expansion operations of Suez Canal are likely to be finalised mid-2023 in order to achieve the hoped-for goals for the expansion of two-way section of the international waterway.

In an interview with Al-Ahram Weekly, head of the SCA Osama Rabie said the authority's ongoing project aims to create a dual zone in the area from the canal’s 122-132 kilometre marks, adding 10 kilometres to the New Suez Canal, increasing its length to 82 kilometres instead of 72 kilometres. The project also includes expanding and deepening the Suez Canal’s navigation from the canal’s 132 kilometre mark south of the Salty Lakes to the canal’s 162 kilometre mark at the Suez exit of the waterway. The new dual-lane project will improve navigation within the canal and increase its carrying capacity by another six ships. 

This came following a presidential approval issued in May 2021 for the plan to widen and deepen 40 kilometres of the waterway, including the part that witnessed the 400-metre-long Ever Given crisis in March when it blocked the Suez Canal for almost a week.

Short link: