CAIRO, Aug 6 (Aswat Masriya) – The Suez Canal made dollar revenues of $3.183 billion during the period between Jan 1 and Aug 6, 2016, marking a 4 per cent growth compared to the same period last year, chairman of Suez Canal Authority said on Saturday.
Mohab Memish said that the increase in revenues was made despite slowdown in global trade.
His statements were made during the one year anniversary celebration of the New Suez Canal opening.The celebration was attended by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
It was customary of the Suez Canal Authority to publish its revenue figures in dollar terms on monthly basis; however it stopped doing so since February 2016. This made monthly comparisons hard to assess especially after the central bank devalued the pound in March, Reuters reported.
Last March, the central bank of Egypt devalued the pound to EGP 8.85 against the dollar, down from EGP 7.73. But the pound was later raised 7 piasters to change hands at EGP 8.78 per dollar.
The canal is one of Egypt's main sources of foreign currency. Egypt has been struggling to revive its economy since a 2011 uprising scared away tourists and foreign investors, other sources of hard currency.
Egypt’s net foreign reserves reached $17.546 billion at the end of June, still less than half of the foreign reserves Egypt had before Mubarak's removal when they were almost $36 billion.
In August 2015, Sisi inaugurated what was dubbed the "New Suez Canal," a project involving deepening parts of the 193-kilometre waterway and building a parallel one along a 35-kilometre stretch of the canal, allowing the movement of ships in both directions.
The Suez Canal Authority says the deepening of the canal and drilling a parallel junction to it would double the Suez Canal revenues from $5.3 billion to $13.226 billion in 2023, an increase of 259 per cent.
The authority expects around 97 ships to daily cross the canal after the expansion by 2023, nearly double the number of ships that were daily crossing the canal before the project was launched.