File photo: A cargo ship is seen crossing through Egypt's New Suez Canal, Ismailia (Reuters)
Egypt's Suez Canal revenues fell for the second. consecutive month to record $401.4 million in February, official data from the canal’s authority showed.
The revenues slowed from $411.8 million in January and $429 million in December last year amid claims that vessels are changing route to the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa instead of the Suez Canal due to the drop in world oil prices.
Chairman of the canal's authority Mohab Mamish responded to these claims in a statement sent on Tuesday saying that “the Suez Canal is the main route for world trade, and no other alternative can take its place in the field of maritime transport.”
On an annual basis, the revenues saw an increase of 5.1 percent from February 2015 ($381.9 million), the statement added.
Last month “witnessed a notable increase in revenues, number of transiting vessels and total net tonnage,” despite the drop in world oil prices that declined from $110 per barrel in mid 2014 to around $30 per barrel in the last quarter of 2015, Mamish said.
The country’s vital waterway saw 1,300 vessels pass through last February, a year-on-year rise of 6.6 percent, said the authority.
The canal is the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia and is one of the country's main sources of foreign currency.