A cargo ship is seen crossing through the New Suez Canal, Ismailia, Egypt. (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt’s Suez Canal has recorded an overall tonnage of 94.8 million tons in May, down from 104.9 million tons in the corresponding month in 2019 due to a decline in global trade movement over the coronavirus pandemic, the canal authority’s chairman Osama Rabie announced on Monday.
In an official statement, Rabie said that the overall tonnage dropped 10.1 million tons year-on-year due to a decline in global trade movement and global economies’ growth rates.
He said the canal reported the crossing of 1,601 vessels last month, in comparison to 1,600 in May 2019.
Rabie said that maritime traffic in the canal is an integral part of global trade movement, which is facing challenges amid the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the decline in global demand for shipments.
The pandemic has created a state of recession in trade movement and loading and unloading operations around the world, he said.
Rabie said the canal has succeeded in dealing with the virus’s negative economic repercussions and maintained the transit of vessels since the beginning of the year through flexible pricing and marketing policies that aim to maintain the canal’s competitiveness.
Egypt had stressed in the past months that traffic through its vital shipping route had not been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and shipping was proceeding at normal rates.
The canal, which is the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia, is one of Egypt's main sources of foreign currency.
The country reported a 2 percent rise in Suez Canal revenues in the first four months of 2020, recording $1.907 billion, up from $1.869 billion in the corresponding period in 2019.