AUGUST 5, 2014 — Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi today attended a ceremony to launch what is officially called the Suez Canal Axis Development Project.
The project will include building a new canal alongside the present one — or at least alongside part of it. While many media reports are saying it will be 72 km long, apparently that may not be the case. Original plans were indeed for a 72 km long parallel canal, but President el-Sisi reportedly has said that it would be shortened to 35 km due to national security concerns. He also announced that digging for the 35 km parallel canal will be finished by mid-2015 – far sooner than the three years previously announced for the project.
The aim of the project is to ease canal congestion by allowing two-directional traffic along a part of the waterway.
Reportedly, seventeen civilian companies are in the running to compete for the project in cooperation with military companies under the supervision of the armed forces.