On the 11th local time, the Egyptian authorities announced that they would widen the southern section of the Suez Canal to improve the efficiency of the canal. It is expected to be completed within two years.
On the same day, Rabie, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), announced the details of the plan at the delivery ceremony of multiple projects in Ismailia Province. Egyptian President Sisi and senior government officials attended the ceremony. Sisi said at the ceremony that the grounding of a freighter in March this year highlighted the importance of widening the southern section of the Suez Canal.
Rabie said that the plan mainly covers about 30 kilometers of the Suez Canal from Suez to the Great Bitter Lake. It will be widened by 40 meters and the maximum depth will be increased from about 20 meters to about 22 meters. After the completion of the plan, the southern section of the Suez Canal will have two-way traffic capacity and improve the efficiency of the canal.
On March 23, the heavy freighter Chang Ci, flying the Panamanian flag, ran aground on the new channel of the Suez Canal, causing a blockage of the channel. After several consecutive days of rescue, the stranded freighter successfully floated off on March 29 and is still staying in the berth on the Suez Canal. The Egyptian side and the freighter management are investigating the cause of the accident.
The Suez Canal is located at the key point of the intercontinental zone of Europe, Asia, and Africa, connecting the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The income from the canal is one of the main sources of Egyptian national fiscal revenue and foreign exchange reserves. Data show that in global maritime logistics, about 15% of cargo ships pass through the Suez Canal.