In this Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014 file photo, an Egyptian soldier stands guard near the Suez Canal as an American container ship crosses the Suez Canal in Ismailia, Egypt. Egypt on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015 (Photo: AP)
Maersk Line, one of the world's biggest container shipping companies, sees possible efficiency gains from the new Suez Canal expansion project.
"We have not made any calculations, but we do believe that the shorter transit time and higher reliability will provide us with some efficiency gains," Michael Storgaard, senior press officer at Maersk Line told Ahram Online via email on Thursday.
Maersk container ships account for 20 percent of container transits crossing the waterway, and "virtually all" of its Asia-Europe cargo passes through the canal, said the company in a statement released on Thursday.
Egypt began allowing container ships to pass through the new waterway in the Suez Canal on Thursday. The project would slash transit times to 11 hours instead of 18.
The 72-kilometre expansion project's estimated cost is around $4.1 billion, while the rest of the project, which includes building six tunnels under the canal, is estimated to cost another $4.1 billion and is yet to be completed.