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Egypt holds trial run on second Suez Canal

Egypt holds trial run on second Suez Canal

The first cargo ships have passed through Egypt’s second Suez Canal, amid tight security, ahead of the new waterway’s official opening next month.

Construction on the new lane, which runs alongside part of the existing canal,started less than a year ago.

The 72km (44 mile) route allows two-way traffic and can accommodate larger vessels.

Several container ships from around the world successfully navigated it on Saturday as part of a trial run.

Helicopters and naval vessels escorted the ships as part of the security operation.

The Sinai Peninsula, which borders the canal, is a base for Islamic militants, who have killed hundreds of people since the military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.Egypt holds trial run on second Suez Canal

Trade boost

The original Suez Canal opened almost 150 years ago and links the Mediterranean with the Red Sea.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi says the expansion of one of the world’s busiest shipping routes will boost trade and increase employment across the country.

It currently handles 7% of global sea-borne business, and is one of Egypt’s main sources of foreign currency income.

Suez Canal project

$8.5bn

raised for canal expansion project

$13.2bn

projected revenue by 2023 (up from $5.3bn)

  • 72km of new channel and bypasses

  • 97 ships a day by 2023 (up from 49)

  • 11-hour southbound transit (down from 18)

  • 12 months to complete project by Aug 2015

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