Egypt plans to improve the Suez Canal by building a 45-mile section parallel to the existing canal that will act as a bypass so ships can travel in two directions, boosting the waterway's capacity.
The plan was unveiled today by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at an event to launch the Suez Canal Axis Development Project, a commercial and industrial center alongside the canal.
Mohab Mamesh, the chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, said the project would provide job opportunities for Egyptian youth and create new urban communities in the area to attract people to be relocated in Sinai and Canal region, according to a report by the Egypt's State Information Service.
Daily News Egypt
quoted Mamesh as saying the project would cost $4 billion and that Al-Sisi called on the army’s engineering corps, who will directly
supervise the project, to conclude the project in 1 year instead of
the previously scheduled 3–year timeline. Al-Sisi said the
shortened time period is necessary because of “the deteriorating security,” which could
threaten the project.
The newspaper reported that the president called on all Egyptians to participate in funding the
project through an initial public offering of stock. He reportedly asked
Egyptians living in the country to contribute 100 Egyptian pounds ($14), and those
living abroad to donate $100.
It also said that government was refusing foreign
participation in the project, and that only national banks,
companies and investors would be able to finance it.
Memish reportedly said the project will increase the capacity of the Suez Canal to 97 ships per day. According to the Suez Canal Authority, in 2013, the daily average number of transits was 45.5 ships compared with 47.1 ships in 2012.