CAIRO: Suez Canal revenues fell to $442.8 million by November’s end, down from $484.3 million in October, the Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) announced late Sunday.
September revenues hit $469.7 million, lower than the canal’s all-time record of $510 million in August. However, in September revenues were still up 6.2 percent from the $442 million total of September 2013.
The waterway is one of Egypt’s core sources of income, providing about 10 percent of the nation’s hard currency. During FY 2013-2014, the canal earned a record $5.3 billion.
Suez Canal Authority chief economic advisor Abdel Tawab Hagag told The Cairo Post Monday the decline could be due to many factors, including cargo volumes and the types of ships navigating the waterway.
“It is hard to attribute the slide to a certain reason,” Hagag said, noting that revenues usually go up during the fourth quarter, as most countries tend to secure their strategic oil needs in this period, which increases passing rates through the canal.
The Cairo Post tried to contact SCA Chairman Mohab Mamish for comment, but he was unavailable.
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.
Finance Minister Hani Kadry said during his visit to the Suez Canal project Thursday the project would “boost the Egyptian economy for 500 years to come” through raising the waterway’s revenues and offering new prospects for development.
The Suez Canal Development project will also fuel global trade and reduce shipping costs, the minister added in an official Thursday statement.
The development of the Suez Canal 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 the nation’s economy by establishing economic and logistical hubs. This will lure foreign and Arab capital for new investments, Mamish said in August.