US-Belgian Coalition wins tender to dredge new shipping lane in East Port Said
New Suez canal
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CAIRO: A U.S.-Belgian Dredging Coalition has won an international tender to dredge a new 9.5 kilometer-long shipping lane in East Port Said to facilitate international trade maritime navigation, officials from the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said Tuesday.

The SCA announced in July that it would contract with the six international dredging companies tasked to dredge the new lane; the companies formed two coalitions and submitted their bids for this project.

The winning coalition includes Belgium’s Dredging, Environmental and Marine Engineering NV (DEME) and U.S. Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company; the other four-company coalition includes UAE- Belgian-Dutch Coalition which include Emirati National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC), Dutch Boskalis for Dredging, Dutch Van Oord, Belgian Jan De Nul group.

The new shipping lane will be 18.5 meters deep and 250 meters wide; the establishment cost is estimated at $60 million, officials told Youm7.

The works of water-saturated sands dredging will start in November, as 15 million cubic meters should be dredged within four months via using two dredgers, according to sources from the winning coalition. On Aug. 8, the SCA’s dredger (MECCA) started sand dredging works.

The total number of Egyptian workers on the two winning dredgers reached only 20 laborers, besides to other Egyptian and foreign engineers, the sources added, noting that the contract between the authority and the coalition will be signed Oct. 14.

Establishing the new lane is projected to increase the number of crossing containers from 3.4 million to 4 million over one year, the SCA chairperson Mohab Mamish previously stated.

A floating bridge will be established in the East Port to carry a load up to 70, instead of 7 tons;  two lines will be built on the bridge: one of the small trucks and the another for cars; its cost is estimated at 70 million EGP ($8.94 million), Mamish added.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi decreed to start the dredging immediately after the inauguration of the 72km-long New Suez Canal Aug.6.

In 2007, The Suez Canal Container Terminal contracted with the Ministry of Transportation to establish the new canal. Per the old contract, the project of the new canal was scheduled to end in 2011; al-Maal newspaper reported in January, noting that the reason behind stymieing the project was a financial disagreement.

The new shipping lane is parallel to East Port Said entrance and aims to allow vessels to sail in both directions simultaneously and reduces the waiting time for international vessels passing from and to the main Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea.

Mamish said digging of the new lane is a part of East Port Said development project, planned to be established on 2,600 hectares of industrial zoned land.

Additional reporting by Gamal Heragy.

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