Explainer: What you need to know about proposed Suez Canal expansion

Menna Osama, Tuesday 5 Mar 2024

Chairman of Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Osama Rabie revealed the details of the proposed project that would extend and complete the second channel of the international waterway, responding to citizens' concerns over the funding source and necessity of the project.

Suez Canal
File photo: Egypt s Suez Canal


The Suez Canal, which moves 12 percent of all world trade, is one of the main sources of foreign currency to Egypt.

The canal brought in $8.8 billion on 26,000 vessels during FY2022/2023.

However, revenues have dropped by 40-50 percent in recent months amid disruptions in navigation in the Red Sea as a result of tensions between the Houthis and Western powers in the region.

In a phone-in with MBC Masr on Monday evening, Rabie indicated the proposed project aims to add a second lane to the 80 kilometres of the 193-kilometre-long canal that is currently one-way, with 50 kilometres in the north and 30 kilometres in the south.

Two international companies are still preparing feasibility studies. 

The project aims to increase the canal’s capacity, which according to Rabie has reached an average transiting of 75-80 ships daily thanks to the 2015 New Suez Canal project.

Ahram Online sheds light on the specs of the proposed project as follows:

  • The feasibility studies of the project will be completed in 16 months, including environmental, engineering, civil, and soil studies.
  • After concluding the studies, it will be decided whether the project will be started, cancelled, or postponed.
  • If the project goes ahead, the SCA anticipates it will be completed in 6-7 years.
  • The cost of the project has not been disclosed. However, Rabie stated that the funding will be provided from the SCA's investment budget rather than the country's general budget.
  • The SCA believes the project is necessary due to the expected increase in international trade, resulting in more ships passing through the canal and increasing revenues.
  • The project also aims to ensure complete safety for ships and prevent incidents like the Ever Given, which blocked the canal for six days in 2021, from happening again.
Search Keywords:
Short link: