New Suez Canal to Open on August 6

Women sit and look at a container ship navigate through the Suez canal near Ismailia port city, northeast of Cairo May 2, 2014. Egypt has extended the bidding deadline to July 3 in an international auction of 22 concessions for oil and gas exploration, an official with the state-owned gas company said on Wednesday.The previous deadline for companies to submit bids for concessions in the Suez Canal, Egypt's western desert, the Mediterranean sea and the Nile Delta had been May 19. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh (EGYPT - Tags: MARITIME TRANSPORT ENERGY BUSINESS) - RTR3NJRP

The  New Suez Canal will open in time on  Aug. 6, almost one year after  president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi first revealed the plan of  the new waterway that is expected to more than double the  receipts of  the canal , standing at $5 billion,  in less than a decade.

Eighty five percent of dredging works have been completed, with 219.3 million cubic meters of sand excavated from a total of 258 million cubic meters, Mohab Mameesh, chairman and managing director of the Suez Canal Authority, told a news conference in Ismailia.

“The digging and dredging works will conclude on July 15. The opening of the New Suez Canal will be on 6 August, according to the orders of the Egyptian people and the Egyptian president,” He said. Last August El-Sisi said the the water way should be dug in not more than a year instead of the originally planned 3 years.

“People haven’t slept… it’s like a battle.It is boosting our self-confidence and we are hoping this project will return Egypt to the path for investment,” Mameesh added.

The new waterway which will allow two-way traffic would reduce navigation time for ships by half to only 11 hours, making it the fastest such waterway in the world. The government also plans to build an international industrial and logistics hub near the Suez Canal that it expects will eventually make up about a third of the Egyptian economy.

The new canal is a part of the wider Suez Canal Corridor Developing project which will see the setting up of an industrial and logistical zone along the canal over the next five years. Developing Canal and the hub projects will secure $100 billion of annual revenues to Egypt.

A new law tailored to deal with red tape or any investment complications in the new Suez industrial hub is expected to be issued soon according to Mameesh. Moreover, last week  the Egyptian government has approved legislative amendments that would grant the Suez Canal Authority the right to establish joint-stock companies, to attract foreign investment.

The inauguration celebration will be attended by president El-Sisi along with world leaders and some 200 celebrities. Mameesh said funding for the festivities will come from private companies and that it would not cost the state budget “a single penny.”



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