Egypt has complemented the launch of a two-way traffic system through the Suez Canal on 6 August by announcing infrastructure plans to support a proposed economic zone along the canal.
The cornerstone of government plans is its SCZone, an economic enterprise zone that Egypt proposes to build beside the canal to take advantage of its vital location for world trade. Within this project, East Port Said is one of the main focus areas and the Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT), operated by APM Terminals, will play a key role in this development.
Announcing the official launch of the expanded canal, the Suez Canal Authority’s boss Muhab Mamish has finally agreed to create a channel giving APMT’s Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT) direct access to the main canal.
Welcoming the announcement, SCCT managing director Klaus Holm Laursen told IHS Maritime, “The side canal entry to East Port Said is required to allow more ships to call the East Port and will make the entrance to the Mediterranean independent of the Suez Canal convoy patterns, hence reduce port stay in the East Port as well as increasing capacity,”
With its SCZone, Egypt is hoping to create a world-class global logistics hub and industrial processing centre serving European, Middle East and Asian markets to boost the country’s economic growth. The zone is part of the vision of president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to revive Egypt’s economy and employment which was badly disrupted by the political and social upheavals that followed the Arab Spring.
Related news:Egypt to dredge access for APM’s Suez Canal terminal
The access channel will be dredged by the consortium of seven companies that is currently completing the expansion of the main canal that will allow a doubling of commercial through traffic from a current 49 ships to an estimated 97 ships a day.
At the moment, vessels leaving SCCT have to wait several hours before being allowed to enter the canal; before this announcement, further expansion of SCCT was seen as limited because the terminal is located on the canal’s eastern approach route, which is used by larger ships and those carrying dangerous cargo to avoid the main channel that passes the urban and industrial developments of West Port Said.
SCCT’s potential capacity is 70 vessels a day, but the traditional convoy system was too inflexible for terminal ship movements since vessel convoys are either moving south or north. Now that the main canal traffic is bi-directional, a two-way channel to the terminal would enable more ships to leave and access SCCT via the canal on a daily basis.