Mona El-Nahhas , Tuesday 6 Jun 2023


Navigation returns to normal

TRAFFIC in the Suez Canal resumed in both directions after tugboats managed to tow away the oil tanker SEAVIGOUR which broke down on Sunday, disrupting navigation in one of the world’s busiest maritime trade routes, the head of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Osama Rabie announced.

The 82,000-ton tanker will resume its journey from Russia to China immediately after it is fixed, Rabie said. The tanker broke down in a single-lane part of the canal, disrupting the transit of eight other southbound vessels that were behind in the convoy. The SCA also said that northbound ships were temporarily halted at the Great Bitter Lake region until the tanker was towed away.

Over the past few years, the Suez Canal has refloated ships that went aground or malfunctioned. The SCA started major development works in the waterway after the mammoth Panama-flagged Ever Given ran aground on a single-lane part of the canal in March 2021. The incident disrupted passage through the waterway for nearly a week.

As part of the improvements, set to conclude next month, Egypt has been working to widen and deepen parts of the global waterway, including the site of the Ever Given incident. Suez Canal revenues hit a record $8 billion in 2022, up from $6.3 billion in 2021, according to the SCA.


Egypt gets WMO seat

THE EGYPTIAN Meteorological Authority (EMA) has been elected to the 37-member executive council of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) for the first time in 20 years. Egypt’s term will last until 2027, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, to which EMA is a partner, said in a statement on Friday.

Elections were held on Thursday last week during the 19th World Meteorological Congress (Cg-19) in Geneva. The UAE was elected to the presidency of the organisation while India, Ireland and Cote d’lvoire were given vice presidential posts. The council position will allow Egypt to take part in decision-making in the organisation and maintain its strategic interests in weather and water studies at the international level, Civil Aviation Minister Mohamed Abbas Helmi said.

According to Helmi, Egypt’s success in receiving the council seat was the result of the continuous coordination with the WMO particularly during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) held in Sharm El-Sheikh last year.

The achievement was also the result of mobilising support of member states during meetings held at the Arab summit in May, Helmi added.


Shifting to electric vehicles

EGYPT’s Supreme Council for Vehicle Manufacturing gave its initial approval for two national electric mobility companies to convert thousands of fuel-powered vehicles to run on electricity.

According to a cabinet statement on Monday, the council approved an initiative by e-mobility startup Shift EV to convert 100,000 fuel-powered vehicles to run on electric power over five years, including 80,000 pickup trucks and 20,000 minivans.

Another initiative was presented by the Egyptian e-mobility platform BluEV to convert light by means of transport, including bicycles and tricycles, to run on electric power. The platform stated that electric power would cost customers 30 per cent less than fuel. The government has adopted several initiatives and reached agreements to increase renewable energy to 42 per cent by 2030.

Last year, the Senate approved a bill to set up a fund to provide financing for an environment-friendly electric vehicle industry in Egypt. The same year the government launched a national strategy to develop the automotive industry in the country, including the electric vehicle manufacturing sector.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 8 June, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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