The Suez Canal expansion was inaugurated with a lavish ceremony and the presence of various world leaders.
Dressed in a military uniform, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi sailed in the El-Mahorusa, the same yacht that the then French Empress Eugenie, Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife, sailed in to inaugurate the first Suez Canal back in 1869.
Military jets, including French and United States, and helicopters flew over the ceremony. In Egypt, the day was made a holiday.
While the first Suez Canal took ten years to build in 1869, Egyptians wrapped up this project in 12 months. This expansion includes a new 35 kilometer long parallel waterway. It also includes a 37 kilometer depth and width expansion of the existing 193 kilometer long canal.
The Greek frigate “Spetsai” was among the ships that participated in the inauguration and made its way through the new waterway.
With this expansion, certain parts of the canal will be able to host two-way traffic as well as larger ships. Up until this expansion, the Suez Canal constitutes 8 percent of global seaborne trade, according to the Suez Canal Authority.
The Suez Canal Authority further reports that the project cost 8.5 billion dollars and is expected to bring in 13.2 billion dollars of revenue by 2023. By the same time, 97 ships should be going through the canal daily, as opposed to the 49 right now. Thanks to the expansion, southbound ships will be able to complete their passage in 11 hours, instead of the current 18 hour-long journey.