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Official countdown to New Suez Canal opening begins

Updated: 2015-06-15 14:56

Suez Canal Authority, in partnership with a WPP consortium, launches its campaign to tell the world about the 'symbol of the new Egypt'

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) announced on Saturday the start of the celebrations that will culminate in the opening of the New Suez Canal on Aug 5 by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

"The New Suez Canal is more than just a new waterway and an astonishing feat of engineering. It is a catalyst for the Egyptian people which will unleash a renewed sense of pride and a more prosperous future," said Admiral Mohab Mameesh, Chairman and Managing Director of the Suez Canal Authority.

He added: "The project is more than 80 percent complete, and climbing as we speak, with more than 210 million tons of sand excavated, so our attention is now turning to the celebration of this achievement with the Egyptian people, as well as sharing news of Egypt's 'gift to the world' far and wide."

"The New Suez Canal is a symbol of the new Egypt, representing the energy, resourcefulness and determination of the Egyptian people, and is one of the most significant projects to come out of Egypt in modern times. It will enrich our economy and society for decades to come," said Admiral Mameesh.

The huge engineering project began with a national subscription to raise the necessary funds. The Egyptian people raised around US$8.5 billion in just six days, and work began on Aug 6 last year. Despite initial estimates indicating the project would take three years, the project is well on course to be completed in less than 12 months.

The Suez Canal has been at the heart of Egypt's economy for more than 150 years. The project to build a new 72km waterway will enable two-way traffic and double the current daily ship capacity. As a result, the canal authority is set to increase its annual revenue from $5.3 billion in 2015 to $13.2 billion in 2023, as well as underscore the canal's position as a major maritime trade route against a backdrop of growing competition.

The New Suez Canal is at the heart of a vision to construct a fully developed industrial area along the canal known as the Suez Canal Zone. The zone will see the creation of a huge industrial area catering to a broad range of sectors including manufacturing, logistics, ship repair, and more. With the Suez Canal positioned as a vital component of world trade, the Suez Canal Zone will provide access to 1.6 billion customers worldwide. The project will provide Egypt with investment and employment opportunities for years to come.

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