Portion of Suez Canal to be expanded, official says

Portion of Suez Canal to be expanded, official says
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The chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said Tuesday that part of the waterway would be widened after it was shut down in March by a grounded cargo ship that blocked traffic in both directions for nearly a week.

Reuters reported that Osama Rabie made the comments during a televised address Tuesday announcing that the plans had been presented to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who instructed the project to be completed within two years.

One section of the canal would be both widened and deepened under the plans presented by the SCA, according to Reuters, specifically an 18-mile section located between the city of Suez and the region known as Bitter Lakes, which would be widened by 130 feet and deepened by six feet.


A second canal lane located north of Great Bitter Lake would also be lengthened as part of the project, allowing for more ships to pass through that section.

Rabie said during his address that the six-day March stranding of the Ever Given cargo ship had served to stress the urgency of such a project.

The formerly grounded cargo vessel, one of the largest in the world, now remains in SCA detention as the canal authority pursues more than $1 billion in damages over lost trade revenue and other expenses resulting from the days-long traffic stoppage.

"The Suez Canal Authority will demand more than one billion dollars in compensation from the company that owns the ship in damages for disrupting the shipping route for six days, the cost of depreciation of dredgers and tugboats, and the continuous work of teams of technicians and engineers, in addition to damage to equipment and machinery," Rabie said in April.

An analysis from Lloyd's List in March found that the blockage of the Suez Canal caused the holdup of more than $9.6 billion in international trade revenue every day.