Three cargo ships crossed the new Suez Canal Saturday in a trial operation before the canal’s official opening on 6 August.
Mohab Mamish, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, announced the success of the operation during a phone call with an Egyptian TV channel.
He added that the trial proves Egypt has the ability and capacity to establish successful mega projects, indicating that trials will keep going until the official date of the canal’s opening ceremony. Military helicopters and private navy launches secured the crossings of the three ships.
The first ship to pass the canal travelled from Jeddah to Port Said and weighed 133,000 tonnes. The second ship was travelling from Singapore on its way to the US, and weighed 95,000 tonnes.
The third ship was Bahraini, travelling from Jeddah to Italy, with the ship weighing 77,000 tonnes.
The completion of the dredging process is expected to be announced by Sunday, state media reported. It also noted that the canal is secured from air, sea and land.
Since its nationalisation in 1956, income from the Suez Canal in the Egyptian treasury reached more than $50bn. It represents one of the most important sources of national income within the economy.
With the new Suez Canal project, the government aims to decrease the period it takes cargo ships to cross and simultaneously increase their flow. It is forecasted that Suez Canal income will increase by 259% before 2032 to reach around $13bn annually.
Last August, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi announced the new mega project. He called on the army’s engineering corps, which directly supervises the project, to complete the New Suez Canal in one year instead of the previously scheduled three–year timeline.
At the time, it was announced that the digging of the 72 km canal alongside the original will take place at a cost of EGP 29bn ($4bn).