New shipping lane of Port Said to be inaugurated Wednesday
A Container ship crosses the Suez Canal at Port Said, northeast of Cairo February 1, 2013. REUTERS

CAIRO: A new Mediterranean shipping lane in east Port Said will be inaugurated Wednesday, Youm7 reported Director-General of East Port Said  Area Hesham Salama Tuesday.

Giant ships will cross the 9.5 KM-long lane without passing through the Suez Canal, he said, adding that the shipping lane facilitates the international trade maritime navigation for big vessels as it is 18.5 meters deep and 250 meters wide.

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

The ships will not be put on standby anymore to pass the Suez Canal, saving $22,000 of waiting fees, Salama continued.

Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Chairperson Mohab Mamish said in a press conference Monday that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ordered the construction of the shipping lane be accelerated; he added that the construction was completed within three months and will be inaugurated Wednesday instead of June.

Sisi emphasized the importance of pursuing efforts to develop the Suez Canal, as a vital waterway that enhances maritime traffic and international trade and as a main source of national income, said Presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef in a statement Jan. 3.

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 previously stated.

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 disagreement over finance.

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