Plans to widen the Suez Canal that will allow two-way traffic along the length of the waterway will take two years to implement, according to the Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) ,Osama Rabie.
In a televised address, attended by the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who approved the plan, Rabie said that the SCA will widen a 30km stretch south of the Great Bitter Lake where the Ever Given was stranded in March this year.
The canal will be widened by 40m, eastwards and the draught will increase from 20m to 22m.
Rabie added that two-way traffic had been achieved north of the Great Bitter Lake by 2015, and that section would now be extended by a further 10km to the southern side of the lake to allow two-way traffic along the length of the waterway.
Reuters reported that President al-Sisi had said that expansion of the canal had already been under consideration, but that the grounding of the Ever Given, on 23 March had highlighted the urgency of the plans.
Meanwhile, the dispute over compensation for the Ever Given grounding is continuing with the SCA indicating it would drop its demands for US$916 million by US$300 million.
An offer that received a cool response from the owners’ insurer the UK P&I Club.
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