Egypt unveils plan to expand Suez Canal

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egyptian President, yesterday approved the widening and deepening of the southern part of the Suez Canal, after the 20,000TEU container vessel Ever Given crippled the critical maritime artery recently.

Suez Canal Authority

With a length of 400 meters and a width of nearly 60 meters, this giant ship had been wedged in this vital shipping route for six days this March, blocking all shipping traffic.

For the refloating of the 224,000-ton container vessel, approximately 30,000 cubic meters of sand was dredged to help free the vessel and a total of eleven harbor tugs and two powerful seagoing tugs (Alp Guard and Carlo Magna) were deployed.

Osama Rabie, the Suez Canal Authority head, said that this new project “will lead to improvements in the ability of the guide (SCA) and the captain of any ship to navigate inside the canal.”

The plan includes widening the canal’s southernmost stretch by about 40 meters (yards) to the east, on the side of the Sinai Peninsula. That segment would also be deepened to 72 feet, from the current 66 feet in depth. This part of the canal is 30 kilometers (18 miles) long.

The project is set to last 24 months.