Egypt celebrates the inauguration of New Suez Canal
Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi officially inaugurated the "New Suez Canal". Sisi, a former Army Chief flagged-off the $9 billion project; this was a signal for ships to cross the newly extended waterway. Banners which claimed "New Suez Canal: Egypt's Gift to the World" and "The Egyptian Miracle" adorned the streets of Egypt to celebrate the inauguration of this ambitious project.
The Suez Canal is a waterway in Egypt that connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Post ten years of construction, the canal was officially inaugurated on 17 November 1869. The canal reduced the travel time of ships sailing between Europe and South Asia without having to reach Africa. The canal reduced the sailing distance between Europe and India by about 7,000 kilometres.
Egypt proposed to add a newer layer to the Suez Canal. This extension aimed to increase the space for ships that transported freight. Egyptian President, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced a plan for a 45-mile lane for the purpose of easier movement of ships The funding for this project was initially proposed through foreign investments but the President substituted this with an Egyptian stock-market IPO.
Egypt demonstrated a trial run of "The New Suez Canal", ahead of the official inauguration in August. Six vessels in two fleets of three each were the first to test the new Suez Canal during the test-period. The fleet plying from South-North had the flags of Singapore, Luxembourg and Bahrain. While those sailing from North-South had the flags of Liberia and Hong Kong.
The new Suez Canal was officially completed and an addition of 35 kilometers of newer channels was made. This extension is expected to increase space for the existing 49 ships per day to 97 ships by 2023. About 258 million cubic-meters of earth was removed to construct the new channels. The Egyptian government also said that the country's economy and trade would increase.
The President of Egypt, Sisa inaugurated the ceremony in a yacht. This yacht was owned by the former Royal family and carried French Empress Eugenie de Montijo in the 1869 inauguration of Suez Canal.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Yemen's exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah were among the elite guests for the inauguration.