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Egyptian Suez Canal slightly affected by Russian-Ukrainian conflict

The international maritime movement through the Egyptian Suez Canal has slightly been affected by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, said Head of the Suez Canal Authority Osama Rabie in a press conference on Tuesday.

The admiral clarified that the canal was affected, as the oil, wheat, and iron vessels from the Black Sea will not pass through it due to the ongoing conflict. However, he added, some European countries have headed to the southern countries, including the Gulf States, to get natural gas, and their vessels will compensate for any shortage in the maritime movement.

Rabie’s speech was given during a celebration held by the SCA to mark the first anniversary of refloating the Panama-flagged ship Ever Given, which had run aground in March 2021 at the southern entrance of the shipping channel.

The naval admiral also stated that despite this global crisis, the SCA revenues rose up to $1.6 billion over the period between January 1, 2022 and March 27, 2022, from $1.36 billion in the same period of the previous year, marking an increase of 18.5 percent.

Over the same period, the shipment movement soared by 14.3 percent, compared with the previous year.

The Suez Canal, Egypt’s international trade route, has raised the transition toll for all transiting ships by 5 to 10 percent. “This increase, which will come into force on May 1, 2022, is temporary,” Rabie said, adding that the authority can revise and reduce the transit tolls based on the situation for the international maritime trading movement.

Rabie explained that the authority is also working on expanding the southern entrance of the canal and the cost of the canal expansion is funded by the SCA.

The Suez Canal Authority said in a statement that two dredgers (the 10th of Ramadan Dredger and Mashhur Dredger) have been used in the expansion works at 122 kilometers of the Suez Canal.

Green shipping lane
“The authority is working on changing the Suez Canal into a green maritime shipping canal by 2030. All 16 navigational monitoring stations along the canal are currently running by wind energy, and this contributes to reducing 16 tons of CO2 emissions per year,” stated Rabie.

He added that the authority is negotiating with international entities to use liquified gas in operating the SCA ships and other international vessels.

“By 2030, the Suez Canal will be a green shipping lane and the authority would provide incentives to encourage the passing vessels to turn into eco-friendly ships” Rabie reiterated.

A documented achievement
During the celebrations of the 1st anniversary of refloating the Ever Given ship at the SCA, a documentary on the maritime movement on the day of the ship grounding was screened.

The film showed that after a number of vessels passed through the canal on that day, ship number 13 (Ever Given) could not pass due to its grounding at the southern entrance of the Suez Canal on March 23, 2021 at 7:40 am.

Immediately a committee was tasked to solve the crisis and a tiny bulldozer was sent to help. Then, the authority framed its refloating plan depending on the tide wave and other navigation factors, using the Dutch and Egyptian giant tugging boats, the documentary shows.

After six days of blocking the canal and impeding the maritime movement, Ever Given was successfully refloated on March 29, 2021 at 3:15 pm.

Titled “The Achievement” and performed by actor Iyad Nassar, another documentary showed the importance of the Suez Canal in the maritime trading movement, as an alternative to the Cape of Good Hope, and how impeding the trade movement through it could cause loss of $17 million a day.

The documentary also talked about the importance of dredgers in refloating Ever Given, as this was the first time ever dredgers were used in refloating a ship.

Ever Given, a Japanese-owned 400-meter-long container ship, operating under Panama’s flag, remained stranded for six days and blocked the international navigation movement through the canal. On March 29, 2021, the authority successfully refloated the ship, which was allowed to leave Egyptian waters 3 months later after the Japanese company signed a settling agreement with the Suez Canal Authority.

In May 2021, Egypt started the dredging work to expand the southern entrance of the Suez Canal, just a few weeks after the accident of the Panama-flagged Ever Given.

IMO praises
“I would like to congratulate the Egyptian government and the Suez Canal Authority on the occasion of the Suez Canal excellence day, celebrating the 1st anniversary of refloating Ever Given,” said Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization Kitack Li in a recorded speech.

He added that the Suez Canal plays a pivotal role in supporting the global supply chain, which was illustrated by the major implications of the temporary closure of the canal. “I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the government of Egypt, the Suez Canal Authority and the hard working maritime professionals involved in the efforts to dislodge the ship,” Li stated.

“It is because of the collaborative efforts that this situation was resolved and the impact on the global trade was kept to a minimum,” he continued, praising the Egyptian government and the SCA for keeping the IMO updated on the developments at that time through several meetings.

“I am also encouraged to see enhanced efforts to expand part of the Suez Canal. I am certain that this will contribute immensely to facilitating world trade,” he concluded.
Source: Egypt Today

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