Suez Canal Authority's chief Admiral Osama Rabie in a press conference on Wednesday ,June 21, 2023- press photo
CAIRO – 22 June 2023: The annual revenues of Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority (SCA) are at an all-time high, amounting to $9.4 billion during the 2022/2023 fiscal year, announced SCA chief Admiral Osama Rabie in a press conference on Wednesday.
Rabie added that a total of 25,887 ships crossed the Suez Canal maritime passage over the year, with 1.5 billion tons.
“The Suez Canal has succeeded during the past 4 years in achieving a quantum leap in its work results, despite the successive global crises that the Suez Canal faced like the Coronavirus pandemic, the global recession, and the crisis of the Russian-Ukrainian war," he said.
Rabie noted that the SCA’s development strategy for 2030 is based on several axes, most notably developing the canal's navigational course, upgrading the authority's marine fleet, optimizing assets, and diversifying sources of income.
Expansion of the southern entrance of the Suez Canal
The ongoing development of the southern part [of the maritime course] will increase the capacity of ship transit through this part, and increase the navigational safety factor by 28 percent, according to Admiral Rabie, noting that the project of expansion is expected to complete in one month and a half.
In May 2021, Egypt started the dredging work to expand the southern entrance of the Suez Canal few weeks after the accident of the Panama-flagged Ever Given ship that went aground in the southern entrance and caused the suspension of the world trade shipping through the canal for six days.
The digging works started in parallel passages from the 132nd kilometer to the 162nd kilometer lying in the southern section of the international waterway near the Suez Gulf, and from the 122nd kilometer to the 132nd kilometer located in the Bitter Lakes. The parallel passages will be on the western side of the Canal.
"Expanding the southern part is going at a steady pace and in accordance with the specified schedule, as 94.2 percent of the expanding and deepening work has been completed, dredging 16.6 million cubic meters of sand saturated with water," Rabie continued.
The southern part of the canal “has not undergone any development work since 1990 due to the nature of the solid soil,” he revealed.
Upgrading the fleet of tugboats
The admiral stated that the SCA is building 28 tugboats, including four that were completed in the Port Said marine arsenal with a tugging power of 70 tons each. Six other tugboats will be constructed in cooperation with the Chinese Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd.
Ten more tugboats, with a tugging power of 90 tons each, will be built. This is in addition to two rescue tugboats with a power of 190 tons each, and six small tugging vessels with a tugging power ranging from 9 to 15 tons.
"The rate of accident occurrence in the canal does not exceed 0.09 percent, which is a very small percentage considering the annual transit rates,"Rabie explained.
"In a bid to diversify the sources of income, the authority is developing a yacht marina in Ismailia, with a capacity of up to 120 yachts," Admiral Rabie further stated in the conference.
“Egypt is developing three ports for yacht tourism, besides an eco-friendly city for yacht tourism in Ismailia,” Rabie continued, adding that another yacht marina will be established in Ismailia to be the first model of a sustainable green marina, and three anti-pollution ships have been brought from France to the SCA.
The SCA has also been operating 16 monitoring stations spread along the navigational course with renewable energy, and transformed its vehicles to run by natural gas instead of petrol and diesel, as per the admiral.
“Two factories for recycling ship waste will be established in Egypt, and the authority is studying building a factory for producing containers in Egypt," Admiral Rabie announced.
SCA’s plan for ‘alternative’ maritime routes
In response to Egypt Today’s question about the authority’s plan regarding other international maritime routes like Russia’s Northern Sea Route, Rabie said that the authority is studying the other maritime routes, putting into consideration the SCA's ongoing development of provided services and marketing.
“We are studying the routes that are being established, as well their impact on the short or long terms,” he said, clarifying that the authority is keen to attract more ships through incentives, enhancing the services, and through a thorough marketing policy.
On the incentives that were provided upon shipping vessels during the coronavirus pandemic, Rabie said: “We made planning and marketing studies, and then we made discounts for ships coming from Europe at a rate of 17 percent, while ships coming from the American east coast received a discount from 45 to 75 percent.”
Commenting on the Northern Sea Route in Russia, a shorter route passing through the North Pole, Rabie noted that the northern route works for 4 months a year; and because of ice melting and climate change, it can work for 7 months a year.
“In the last year, 52 ships crossed the Northern [route], while we have [in the Suez Canal route] 25,887 ships a year,” he concluded.