OCTOBER 19, 2014—A consortium consisting of Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V., Van Oord, NMDC (Abu Dhabi) and Jan de Nul (Belgium) has been awarded a $1.5 billion contract by the Suez Canal Authority in connection with the expansion of the Suez Canal. Each consortium partner will be entitled to equal share of $375 million.
The expansion project is being driven by growth in world trade. The canal, which stretches 190.25 km, provides a short cut for shipping traffic from the U.S. East Coast to the Middle East and Asia, as well as from the Middle East and Asia to Europe. Opened on November 17, 1869, the Suez Canal took 10 years to construct and is the longest canal without any locks. It connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. To date, 13,667 ships have passed through the canal.
Suez Canal Authority plans to excavate a new canal between Km 58.2 and Km 92.6 up to a depth 24m. The new Suez Canal will partially run in parallel to the current waterway for about 50 km and will involve the widening and deepening of existing sections of the west branches of the canal at Balah, Devresoir, Bitter Lake, and Kabreet to a depth of up to 24m. The parallel section of the canal will allow ships to simultaneously transit in two directions.
The majority of the dredging activities for the canal expansion will be handled by 17 cutter-suction dredgers. The expansion project will begin this year and will be completed in 2015.