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First Ships Cross New Suez Canal in Test-Run
World Economy

First Ships Cross New Suez Canal in Test-Run

The first cargo ships passed through Egypt’s New Suez Canal on Saturday in a test-run before it opens next month, state media reported, 11 months after the army began constructing the $8 billion canal alongside the existing 145-year-old Suez Canal.
The new waterway, which President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hopes will help expand trade along the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia, will be formally inaugurated on Aug. 6, Reuters reported.
Sisi wants the canal to become a symbol of national pride and to help combat Egypt’s double-digit unemployment. The old Suez Canal is already a vital source of hard currency for Egypt, which has seen tourism and foreign investment drain away in the years of turmoil since a 2011 uprising.
Three container ships crossed the new waterway, state news agency MENA reported. One was an American ship heading to Egypt’s Port Saeed from Saudi Arabia, another was a Danish ship sailing to the United States from Singapore and a Bahraini ship going to Italy from Saudi Arabia.

 World’s  Fastest Waterway
Mohab Mameesh, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority overseer of the project, told state television that this test-run had been a success and that more would follow.
At a later news conference, Mameesh said construction of another canal near the East Port Saeed on the Mediterranean Sea would begin as soon as the New Suez Canal had been inaugurated.
A senior Suez Canal Authority source told Reuters that the canal is expected to cost around $60 million and will be 9.5 kilometers (6 miles) long, 18.5 meters deep, and 250 meters wide. It will take around seven months to build, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The existing canal earns Egypt around $5 billion per year. The New Suez Canal, which will allow two-way traffic of larger ships, is supposed to increase revenues by 2023 to $15 billion.
It should also reduce navigation time for ships to 11 hours from about 22 hours, Mameesh said last month, making it the fastest such waterway in the world.
The government also plans to build an international industrial and logistics hub nearby that it hopes will eventually make up about a third of the Egyptian economy.

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