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Egypt's new Suez Canal to open on August 6

Staff writer |
Egypt's new Suez Canal maritime route will officially open on August 6, a senior official said.

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Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Mohab Mamish told reporters that all dredging works at the new Suez Canal project will be completed in mid-July.

"Only 54 days are left for the opening ceremony of this mega economic project," Mamish said during a press briefing at the SCA headquarter in Egypt's Ismailia city.

Mamish added that some 4,800 pieces of equipment were used and over 250 million cubic meters of dry sand were lifted since the project kicked off last August.

"Nearly 85 percent of the dredging work has been achieved," he added.

In August last year, Egypt launched a project to dig a new 72-km canal alongside the original 163 km-long canal, which is one of the most important waterways in the world since it allows ships to travel between Europe and South Asia without navigating around Africa.

The cost of the new canal is estimated at four billion U.S. dollars.

The Suez Canal has been an essential source for hard currency along with tourism that has been withering since the 2011 uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

The canal revenues hit $5.455 billion in 2014, compared to $5.105 billion in 2013. These were the highest records ever.

The new canal project is supposed to provide more than one million job opportunities.

The new artificial waterway, which is part of a larger project to expand Suez port and shipping facilities and build large industrial zones, is designed to raise Egypt's international profile and build the nation as a major trade hub.

Mamish expected that once the mega development project is achieved, it will generate up to $100 billion of net income annually.

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