Egypt aims to build a new side channel to the Suez Canal to allow access to east Port Said around the clock, according to a Reuters news agency report.
Currently, ships are only able to access the port for approximately eight hours due to the traffic on the Suez Canal.
The Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT) company, largely owned by APM Terminals, which is part of Maersk group, is set to allocate $15m for the construction of the channel. The agreement between the company and the Egyptian government dates back to 2007, according to the report.
A senior source from the Suez Canal Authority put the cost for the new side channel at $60m. The project was originally scheduled to be completed by 2012, but is now set to begin after the new Suez Canal is completed in August and will take seven months to finish. The new canal will be 9.5 km long.
Currently, every ship sailing to east or west Port Said needs to coordinate with the convoy passing through the Suez Canal, thus dramatically reducing the time during which Port Said’s harbour can be reached.