The first three cargo ships passed through the New Suez Canal on 25th July in a test run prior to the official inauguration of the $8 billion waterway on 6th August. The first three ships to sail the New Suez Canal were an American container ship en route to Saudi Arabia from Egypt’s Port Said, a Danish container ship heading from Singapore to the United States, and a Bahraini container sailing from Saudi Arabia to Italy. The expansion project paves the way for a transit of ships of up to 20m in draught, thus increasing the revenue of the canal to up to $17 billion a year. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi officially inaugurated the new canal in the port city of Ismailiya at 14.00 local time.
The new 72km section of the Canal is expected to bring three times more revenue to Egypt by 2023. Egypt expects that up to 20,000 ships will transit the route on a yearly basis. The new stretch of the Canal is also projected to cut transit times from 20 to 11 hours. Two CMA CGM ships were at the head of the inaugural procession, namely the 152,991gt/2010 built CMA CGM Laperouse and 131,332gt/2011 built CMA CGM Titan. On the opening day, Egypt’s first and youngest female shipmaster, Marwa el- Slehdar, also proudly participated in the new Suez Canal event.