By MarEx 2015-09-04 14:39:10
Less than one month after its inauguration, the newly expanded Suez Canal appears on track to hit Egypt’s lofty projections for increased canal traffic. The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) announced that the canal hit a new one-day record on September 1 by crossing 70 ships with a capacity of 4 million tons.
According to SCA, 34 ships passed through the canal from the north entrance and 36 from the south.
In a statement, SCA Chairman Mohab Mamish stated: “The increasing number of crossing ships sheds light on the importance of the establishment of the new Suez Canal to raise the capacity to handle the expected increase in global trade.”
Already the fastest route between Asia and Europe, the expansion has cut transit time from 18 to 11 hours. The canal’s upgrades include the construction of a 23-mile channel that allows two-way traffic and reduces waiting time.
The publicly-funded expansion cost about $8.5 billion, and Egypt expects it to establish the nation as an international trade hub. Egypt has also invested in new infrastructure such as mega-ports and terminal facilities to complement the canal and attract investment.
More than 17,000 ships transited the canal in 2014, which is about 50 ships per day. Egypt expects the expansion to increase traffic to 97 ships per day—34,000 annually—by 2023. Prior to expansion, the 120-mile canal earned Egypt about $5.3 billion annually and handled eight percent of the world’s sea trade. The SCA expects the upgraded canal to eventually boost annual revenue to $13.5 billion.