President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi among senior officials and representatives of the state - Photo Courtesy of the Presidential Office
CAIRO – 23 December 2017: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi inaugurated on Saturday major national projects in the cities of the Suez Canal. The inauguration was attended by senior state officials, public figures, youth and representatives from all state institutions.
The inauguration event witnessed Sisi giving the green light for several projects to start operating, including the tunnel of Ismailia; two floating bridges built on the Suez Canal and El Qantara, respectively; the second stage of aquaculture projects in the east of the Suez Canal; and the Offshore Support Vessel.
During the inauguration, President Sisi announced that Egypt will build a new city in North Sinai’s Bir al-Abd within two years at a cost of LE 100 billion ($5.6 billion), conveying the idea that Egypt, and especially Sinai, will see significant development during the next few years.
These five projects, along with Sisi’s announcement, suggest the depth of the government’s strategic plan and their will to develop the region. The inauguration of these five projects, as well as the announcement for the development of the city, will lead Egypt to develop better and quicker than anytime during Egypt’s modern history. Increasing the mobility of, and facilitating access to and from, the Sinai region will encourage investors and companies, including petrol companies, to invest in Egypt, as it will facilitate mobility to the region and decrease the costs of projects, as well as services.
The Sinai region, which has many resources to offer in Egypt’s development challenge, had been suffering during the past 30 years, as they had been forgotten by previous regimes. The move to develop these two regions by the current regime will enable Egypt to reap the resources available in these areas, and will also increase the safety in these two regions and, ultimately, in Egypt as a whole. This is expected to bring in more foreign investments and tourists, and improve Egypt’s image in the international community.
Sinai, which is home to some 627,517 people, will now be connected more than ever to the rest of Egypt and the rest of the world.
Floating bridges on the Suez Canal and El Qantara, and the Ismalia tunnel:
The floating bridge is called Martyr Ahmed el-Mansy and connects the eastern and western shores of the Suez Canal in Zone 6 of the Ismailia governorate, achieving integration with ferries and undersea tunnels.
Ismailia tunnel- Photos Courtesy of the Presidential Office
These facilities aim at smoothing the movement of citizens from the eastern side of the canal to its western lands as part of the infrastructure necessary to develop the eastern side of the canal and connect Sinai with the rest of Egypt, which supports development projects executed in the Suez Canal governorates.
Port Said Shipyard implemented an international design program and hired skilled Egyptians trained abroad to execute the project under the supervision of a French company, ensuring the application of all safety measures. Hiring foreign accredited companies to supervise its vessels has been a common practice for the Suez Canal.
Colonel Ahmed el-Mansy, after whom the bridge is named, was the late commander of the Sa'ka Forces (Thunderbolt Forces) and was killed in clashes between Egyptian armed forces and militants on July 7, when the army besieged groups of terrorists and foiled attacks that targeted a number of other checkpoints in the Rafah area in North Sinai.
The son of the martyr Mohamed El-Mansy with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi - Photo Courtesy of the Presidential Office Mansy’s son accompanied President Sisi during the inauguration as a gesture from the president of appreciation for his father’s service. These kinds of gestures ensure that the country remains in bonding and that the forces fight until the end, as they know that their families will not be forgotten.
The son of the martyr Mohamed El-Mansy raising the Egyptian Flag - Photos Courtesy of the Presidential Office
Worker celebrating the inauguration of the Ismailia tunnel - Photo Courtesy of the Presidential Office
The second floating bridge is located in El Qantara, in the governorate of Ismailia. It will be named after Abanoub Girgis, the martyr killed during the terrorist attack of Sheikh Zwaid in 2015.
Offshore Support Vessel:
The giant vessel, named Ahmed Fadel, joined the Suez Canal fleet in June 2017 and is one of the most modern of its kinds in the Middle East, with $40 million total investments, according to a statement issued by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA).
The multi-purposed water craft could undertake a host of functions, including logistics support in the Middle East region and providing supplies, as well as being one of the biggest platform supply vessels.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi looking over the Offshore Support Vessel - Photo Courtesy of the Presidential Office
The vessel is provided with a Dynamic Positioning (DP2) system, which means that it does not require the usage of anchors to maintain its course in the deep waters and thus can carry out its main purpose well.
The giant Ahmed Fadel vessel was established in China Guangzhou Shipyard by China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), one of China's largest shipbuilding companies. The vessel is 90 meters long and 18.8 meters wide, with gross tonnage of 4,744 tons.
It is equipped with a characteristic active heave-compensated (AHC) crane with a tonnage of 75 tons, which could lift up to 40 tons and place them at a specific point under the sea at a depth of 2,000 meters.
The vessel can carry remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) detecting and controlling submarine oil pipelines at a depth of up to 2,000 meters.
The ship also serves as a diving support vessel, in addition to accommodation and recreational facilities for 80 individuals and meeting rooms to run projects in open water.
Admiral Mohab Mamish, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, said in June that the vessel would not just contribute to the work of the authority, but to the Egyptian economy. It will also assist in the fields of natural gas and oil, discovered recently in Egypt’s territorial Mediterranean water.
The vessel is expected to encourage more investments in the field of petroleum, allowing the economy to flourish more.
The second stage of Ismailia aquaculture projects:
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi inaugurated on Saturday the second stage of aquaculture projects in Ismailia governorate, east of the Suez Canal.
Accompanying the farm are multiple production lines, some of which aim to package fish, while others gut them. Although at the moment the government is still paying for the expenses of the fish farm, within a couple of years, the farm is expected to produce a surplus, leading to the increase of foreign currency in Egypt from fish exports. The fish farm is said to be the biggest and most crucial fish farm in the region.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in the Ismailia aquaculture project - Photos Courtesy of the Presidential Office
During the inauguration, President Sisi also announced that Egypt will build a new city in North Sinai’s Bir al-Abd within two years at a cost of LE 100 billion ($5.6 billion).
Addressing his speech to the Egyptian people during the inauguration of a number of projects in the Ismailia governorate, Sisi called on Egyptians to trust in him.
Bir al-Abd is one of the cities of North Sinai that has been repeatedly targeted by terrorist groups. The fact that Bir al-Abd has been hit over and over again by terrorists has encouraged the government to develop the area.
President Sisi directed the government in late November to prepare a sweeping plan for developing Bir al-Abd, where Al-Rawda Mosque is located, which was brutally attacked by terrorist militants.
The government is directing LE 1.89 billion in investments to the North Sinai governorate during fiscal year 2017/18, Minister of Planning Hala al-Said announced.
The Egyptian Federation of Investors Associations (EFIA) announced earlier in December the establishment of a new holding company for development in Sinai, particularly in Bir al-Abd.
On Saturday, Sisi inaugurated five major national projects that aim to edge the country forward. The projects are expected to draw in investments and better the economy after a rough economic transition.