Suez Canal announces plan to expand southern stretch following six-day Ever Given blockage

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has outlined plans to expand the southern stretch of the waterway after the Ever Given container ship caused chaos by becoming wedged, stopping traffic for six days.

The launch event, held on Tuesday by the SCA’s Chairman Osama Rabie and attended by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, laid out the authority’s vision to widen the section between Suez and the Great Bitter Lake by 40 meters and to deepen it by 2.4 meters to a total of 21.9 meters.

The group will also move to extend the second canal lane that was opened in 2015 by an additional 10 kilometers, giving more ships the ability to pass through the route unimpeded.

The project is set to take 24 months, at most, to complete and is aimed at improving traffic flow through the waterway, ensuring it is safer for ships to pass through and hoping to prevent a repeat of the situation in March, where one wedged ship caused a traffic jam that had an impact on the global market.

Sisi confirmed that, while the expansion had been under consideration for some time, the recent blockage in the waterway meant that officials expedited the project due to the perceived urgency of improving the Suez Canal.

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The Ever Given ran aground in the Suez Canal, which is responsible for around 12% of the world’s global shipping, causing a six-day blockage that forced other ships to wait for it to clear or take a more expensive and time-consuming alternative route around the Horn of Africa.

The container ship has been impounded by Egyptian authorities since it was refloated and removed from the canal, as a dispute is ongoing between officials and the owners of the vessel over compensation that has been claimed for the delay caused by the costly traffic jam.

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Source:RT World News

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