CAIRO: The Suez Canal recorded a 12 percent hike in revenue in August, totaling $510 million and up from $482.2 million the month before, Egypt’s State Information Service posted on its website Saturday.
The waterway is one of Egypt’s core sources of income, providing about 10 percent of hard currency. During fiscal year 2013-14, the canal earned a record $5.3 billion.
Earlier in August, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi launched a multi-billion dollar megaproject Suez Canal expansion project called “the New Suez Canal,” in an attempt to revive Egypt’s limping economy. The project will establish a new 72 kilometer canal parallel to the current one to speed up transit time.
The Suez Canal expansion is expected to boost annual revenue up to $13.5 billion by 2023.
In hopes of raising 60 billion EGP to finance the megaproject, the government issued investment certificates in local currency, and only Egyptian citizens were eligible to buy them.
The assigned banks selling certificates sold out of 64 billion EGP ($8.9 billion) worth of the investment certificates within eight days. Many experts deemed this a success, and a symbolic second vote for Sisi, who won a landslide victory in the presidential election held May 24.
Also, on Aug. 19 the Egyptian government officially named a consortium including international consultancy firm Dar Al-Handasah the winner of a bid to plan the development of the Suez Canal Axis project. The axis project is separate from the expansion project, and aims to develop the area surrounding the Suez Canal.
Planners hope the axis will take advantage of Egypt’s geographical location to revive its economy by establishing economic and logistical hubs. This will lure foreign and Arab capital for new investments, Suez Canal Authority Chairman Mohab Mamish said after announcing the consortium.