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Egypt plans to construct a new canal parallel to the Suez Canal costing US$4bn, in a bid to expand trade along the shipping route between Europe and Asia
The new canal will run alongside the 163 km long Suez Canal, for a distance of 72 km and the construction is likely to be completed in three years, stated Mohab Mamish, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority.
The project would involve 35 km of dry digging and 37 km of expansion and deepening, giving rise to the possibility that the existing Suez Canal could be widened too.
The upcoming project would mainly help reduce the time spent by cargo ships waiting for clearance, said Mamish.
President of Egypt Adel Fattah al-Sisi said that the Egyptian armed forces would assist with the upcoming project and up to 20 firms could be involved in the construction of the new canal.
Among 14 consortia that bid for the project, the government has chosen a consortium including global engineering firm Dar-al-Handasah and the Egyptian army to develop the area, stated a Reuters report.
Since the 2011 political uprising, Egypt’s tourism revenue and foreign investment have been affected. The Suez Canal alone generates revenue worth US$5bn per year, making it a vital source of income for the nation.
Mamish revealed that Egypt had been planning to develop 76,000 sq km around the Suez Canal to generate income. In addition, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait have donated more than US$12bn in cash and petroleum products to support the economy that has been trying to recover from political upheaval.