After work began around 10 months ago on the Suez Canal expansion, the US$8 billion project is due to open on August 6, 2015, around 6 months ahead of the Panama Canal expansion’s anticipated completion date in early 2016, according to Reuters.
PTI previously reported that the Suez Canal would be opening in July, 2015, but now the official opening date has been announced a few weeks after originally planned.
Mohab Mameesh, Chairman and Managing Director of the Suez Canal Authority, said: “The digging and dredging works will conclude on July 15. The opening of the New Suez Canal will be on August 6, according to the orders of the Egyptian people and the Egyptian president.
“Once President al-Sisi orders the start of navigation on August 6, ships will be able to go through the canal.
“They are not only digging or dredging works, but also preparing the maritime path to be valid and secure for global navigation. We will not allow any ship to pass unless it has navigational security.”
The Suez Canal Authority recently announced a separate canal safety scheme that would involve the deployment of more police boats around the area to enhance safety for container and other types of ships sailing through.
It recently broke its record for the amount of revenue gained in 2014, bringing its total to around $1.2 billion. This is expected to increase to approximately $13 billion once the newly expanded canal opens in August, 2015.
Andy Lane of CTI Consultancy, said: “In mid-2016 when Panama opens the third set of locks, we are likely to see some Suez services (Asia-USEC) revert back to Panama – but not all. Those which serve the South East Asia/Indian Sub-continent to USEC will remain through Suez. We will also see several of the current 4,500 TEU services which transit Panama being combined into 9,000-10,000 TEU services – so fewer transits with larger vessels.
“There will always be some competition between Suez and Panama, however they largely cater to different markets and therefore do not directly compete very much.”