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Egypt steps up efforts to maintain Suez Canal’s transport advantage

Tuesday, 02 February 2021 | 17:00

The head of the Egyptian Suez Canal Authority, Osama Rabie, has said that new incentives, projects and services are being provided to ensure the canal remains superior to its alternatives.

“So far, no project has appeared to compete with the Suez Canal,” Rabie said. “In the far future, the Ashkelon road and railway project will appear; it will take five years to construct,” he said.

Israel is working to establish the Ashkelon project, which is 254 km long, from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and which will provide a parallel route to the Egyptian Suez Canal through a network of pipelines that will transport oil and gas not only to the region but to many areas in Europe and Asia.

“Egypt is considering alternatives to this project, which will affect the oil ships passing through the Suez Canal by about 16 percent.”

He stressed that any project in maritime transport parallel to the Suez Canal would affect it.

“Egypt has entered into a partnership with China in maritime transport on the Silk Road, which consists of three land, air and sea lines. The ships passing on the Silk Road will pass through the Suez Canal.”

Rabie said that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was in constant touch with him to keep up-to-date about developments regarding the Suez Canal due to its importance.

Speaking about the Egyptian fishing fleet, Rabie said that Egypt had not previously owned a fishing fleet. However, President El-Sisi had ordered the procurement of 100 fishing boats to be used in the employment of young people and to support the fishing fleet.

He said that the fishing boats carried equipment including a water desalination plant, an ice-production machine and an ultrasonic device to locate fish.

The cost of a ship was about 18 million Egyptian pounds ($1.15 million) and the fleet would cost 1.8 billion Egyptian pounds, Rabie said. The first phase of the project had ended and 34 ships had been built, while work was underway for the second phase, he said.

The Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) has praised the Suez Canal Authority as its revenue has increased by 8 percent, despite the pandemic causing the global trade to decrease by 16 percent.

The organization attributed the increase in the Suez revenue to the canal’s incentive measures and management.
Source: Arab News

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