Egypt marks 150th anniversary of Suez Canal establishment
Monday، 18 November 2019 - 01:44 PM
Suez Canal Authority head Osama Rabei paid on Monday 18/11/2019 tribute to Egyptians who preserved this vital international waterway, saying the canal achieved unprecedented profits thanks to its new expansion project, referring to the parallel canal inaugurated by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in 2015.
Since the new Suez Canal project was inaugurated, 1.3 million ships carrying 28.6 million tons transited the waterway with revenues worth $135.9 billion, Rabei said during a celebration marking the 150th anniversary of the Suez Canal opening.
Thanks to adding the extra lane to the canal, transit duration has been reduced from 22 to 11 hours, he also said.
He pointed out that 24 percent of the total world container trade passes through the strategic waterway every year.
The Suez Canal, a vital artery of global trade, was inaugurated 150 years ago. It was dug between 1859 and 1869 to connect the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, and cut shipping times for the growing international trade between Europe to Asia.
Rabei expounded the history of the Canal starting from its establishment until the landmark decision of late president Gamal Abdel Nasser to nationalize it. He talked about its 1967 closing during the war and its re-opening in 1975.
He reiterated the authority's keenness to improve logistics and maritime services through carrying out several projects to develop navigation.
French Ambassador to Egypt Stéphane Romatet said the Suez Canal has been linking the West with the East for 150 years now.
He said the Canal has an economic and strategic value and France is very proud that it has taken part in this great project.
No one can imagine Egypt without the Suez Canal, he said, chanting "Tahya the Suez Canal ... Tahya Misr".
A documentary film was screened during the celebration about the canal's establishment.
The artificial sea-level waterway, was opened for navigation in November 1869 after 10 years of construction.
The Suez Canal is one of the most important waterways in the world since it allows ships to travel between Europe and South Asia without navigating around Africa, thereby reducing the sea voyage distance between Europe and India by about 7,000 km.
More than one million Egyptian workers took part in digging the canal. Around 100,000 died during the construction works.
In August of 2015, Egypt opened a new 35-km waterway alongside the original 190 km Suez Canal, plus a 37-km expansion and deepening of some parts of the existing one. The expansion has doubled the canal's transport capacity.