CAIRO: The Armed Forces’ Engineering Authority added 16 working companies to work on the Suez Canal axis, with a total of 33 Egyptian civilian companies specializing in excavation work, Armed Forces spokesperson Mohamed Samir announced Sunday.
Two engineering corps military brigades were added to accomplish 36 months of work in just 12 months as President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ordered.
Samir also pointed out that the military will periodically update the public about the work, according to a press statement published on his official Facebook page.
Sisi officially inaugurated the opening ceremony of the Suez Canal Axis with a total cost of $8.2 billion. He said in his ceremony speech that, “Egyptians will experience a new economic era that will depend on the strength of the people and the project will be owned by Egyptians.”
Several people and popular fronts launched an initiative Wednesday to participate in the drilling of the “new” Suez Canal, the waterway east of the current channel.
Ismailia Electricity Company employees were asked to participate in the IPO with shares in the popular contribution since Sisi said in his speech that the project should be financed through Egyptian funds rather than external loans or the entry of foreign investors.
“A group of people volunteered to participate in the drilling of the new channel in the upcoming year for free,” initiative proposer Essam el-Badry told Youm7.
According to Sisi’s speech, which was televised on the State owned channel, the project was previously scheduled to be finished in three years but he ordered the army’s engineering corps to conduct and complete the project in just one year.
The length of the Suez Canal is 190 km and the total length of the new branch of the canal is 72 km from Deversoir to al-Balah, 35 km of which will be dry drilling and 37 km will be expansion and deepening of the original canal.
The cost of the establishment of a parallel Canal is estimated to cost $4 billion. The estimated cost to establish six tunnels in Ismailia and Port Said to transport cars and railroad tracks to Sinai is $4.2 billion. The total cost of both projects will amount to approximately $8.2 billion, General Mohab Mamish said at the project inauguration, Al-Mal newspaper reported.
“A million job opportunities will be provided through the project and 76,000km on both sides of the Canal will be developed, as well as the reclamation and cultivation of nearly four million acres,” Minister of Manpower Nahed Ashry said on ONTV Channel Thursday morning.
Egypt earns about $5 billion a year from the Suez Canal alone. According to an official in the Suez Canal Authority quoted by Reuters, the new canal is set to boost annual revenues to $13.5 billion by 2023.
The announcement garnered mostly positive reactions from politicians and experts, most of whom consider the Suez Canal development project the largest project to raise Egypt’s international profile and establish it as a major trade hub.
“Reducing the duration of work of digging the waterway from three years to one year is extremely difficult and cannot be carried out by conventional methods, which include building the foundation using dredges and bulldozers,” an engineering expert in the contracting business, who requested anonymity, told Shorouq newspaper.