Cairo, Aug 5:
The Egyptian government Tuesday launched a project to dig a new 72-km canal alongside the original Suez Canal.
Head of the Suez Canal Authority Mohab Mamish said during the opening ceremony of the Suez Canal Corridor project that it was aimed at creating “a new Suez Canal parallel to the current channel”, Xinhua reported.
The ceremony was also attended by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Ismailia province.
The new project was expected to provide more than one million job opportunities, Mamish said.
He also noted that instead of entrusting the project to foreign firms, Egypt intended to allow the country’s own companies to build the giant waterway.
Preliminary estimates show that the project is going to cost Egypt a total of $4 billion.
The canal, once completed, will reduce passing ships’ waiting time from 11 hours to as little as three hours.
Mamish also said that Cairo has yet to consult any foreign country over the new canal, adding that the armed forces along with the other related departments have managed to clear future construction sites of all mines that were planted during the 1973 Egyptian-Israeli war.
Opened in 1869, the current 164 km-long Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt.
It connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, with its northern terminus at Port Said and the southern terminus Port Tawfiq in the city of Suez.