The Ministry of Transportation will announce in February a tender to dig a channel parallel to the Suez canal to serve navigation to East Port Said. The new channel will be nine km long, 250 meters wide and 50 meters deep, with enough room for giant vessels more than 400 meters long to be able to travel through it.
Transportation Academy Research Director Ahmed Amin said the project will take a year to complete. "Big container vessels won’t have to wait long to pass to East Port Said," he explained, saying that this will increase trade to the port.
Transportation Ministry Advisor Ahmed Sultan said the project had been agreed upon between the Suez Canal Containers Company and the government in 2000, and was originally planned to be carried out in 2012. But when East Port Said container movement reached 2.7 million in 2009, and was projected to hit 5.4 million in 2012, former minister Mohamed Mansour asked the government to start the project early to keep up with the rapid expansion of the port and its industrial zone.
Company managing director Jens Floe said his company will contribute to the costs of the new channel, although according to the agreement, the government should cover total costs. "We will pay LE1.2 billion, to be paid back by the government in arrears," Floe said. "This reflects our confidence in the Egyptian government."
Container movement in Egypt dropped from 11 million in 2008 to 10.5 million in 2009 due to the global financial crisis. West Port Said saw a decline of 12.5 percent in its movement, while East Port Said saw an increase of 8.3 percent.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.