According to economists, the Suez Canal Axis Development Project is one of the most significant and important projects to be implemented in Egypt following the 25 January Revolution.
On 5 August, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi announced that the Suez Canal Axis Development project had begun. He added that work would also take place to deepen the current channel and develop the entirety of the Suez Canal.
The project was funded through granting investment certificates to Egyptians with 12% returns, and in eight days, more than EGP 60bn was collected.
The project aims at expanding the Suez Canal region’s role as a global, industrial, and logistics centre that is environmentally balanced with an integrated economy. It is also projected to become global hub due to its logistics and industrial services.
The project represents global competition for the region in the fields of advanced logistics and industrial services as well as commerce, tourism, information technology, agriculture, and real estate.
Dar Al-Handasah will implement the project, which is an international project design, management and supervision consultancy company.
Of the main projects under the broader Suez Canal development project is the new Suez Canal Axis project. It will add another direction the navigational channel of the canal to cut crossing times for ships and containers crossing the canal, while simultaneously lowering costs for maritime transport companies.
Statistics on navigational activities in the Suez Canal showed that international trade has increased between East Asian countries, China, India, on the one hand, and Western Europe and US’s eastern coast, on the other.
Compared to last year’s revenue, canal income has increased by 14.4%.
Since its nationalisation in 1956, the Suez Canal’s income in the Egyptian treasury hit more than $50bn, representing one of the most important sources for national income within the economy.
Under the new project, the government will work to decrease the period it takes cargo ships to cross while simultaneously increasing their flow. It is forecasted that Suez Canal income will increase by 259% before 2032 to reach around $13bn annually.
The geographic location of the Suez Canal development project extends from the two banks of the canal in Port Said to Suez and Ismailia. It passes through various centres with Al-Arish in the north and the Suez Gulf in the south.
The project also includes redistribution of urban and geographic housing locations through integrated urban projects aiming to reclaim and cultivate roughly 4m acres and construct roads 3,200 sq km in length.
The implementation plan for the project includes building 32 projects, six of which are a priority, to enhance the Cairo—Suez—Ismailia—Port Said roads. It will help them transition into freeways to facilitate transportation between areas surrounding the Canal and connect them to the capital city. Six tunnels will also be built, including the Ismailia tunnel, which will pass through the Suez Canal channel to connect the two eastern and western canal banks.
The project will also entail the construction of a tunnel south of Port Said under the Suez Canal to easily connect the two areas east and west of the Suez Canal. Another project to develop Nuweiba Port and turn that area plus Sharm El-Sheikh Airport into free zones in the works, and a new water outlet will be construction on the Ismailia Canal[N1] to reach the water treatment plant east of the canal and supply new developmental areas in the canal.
Various logistic projects are also under way and are set to double Suez Canal income. A “Silicon Valley” will also be constructed to serve the technological industries and the touristic resorts along the canal. Within its plan, the General Authority for Free Zones and Investment (GAFI) has included means for integrating these new activities in canal area free zones.
Recently there has also been an increase in investor demand to build projects. The fundamental terms for winning investors include a six-month time frame for creating a developmental plan to construct the Suez Canal Axis. This will begin on the date on which terms are set, so the projects planned for the area may be presented during the economic summit to be held this March.