Egypt’s man-made waterway, the Suez Canal, arguably the world’s most deadliest project in history has in 2021 realized its highest record revenue of $ 6.3 billion since its inception over a century, officials have stated.
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA), the state agency responsible for the management of the international waterway in a statement, said the canal’s revenues in 2021 rose by 12.8%, a $720 million increase from the $5.6 billion in revenue realized in 2020.
According to the statement signed by SCA chairman, Osama Rabie, the canal saw 20,694 ships crossing from both directions in 2021 compared to 18,830 ships that transited in 2020, an increase of 10%.
The Suez Canal also recorded its largest total annual net tonnage of 1.27 billion tonnes during 2021, an increase of 8.5% from 1.17 billion tonnes in 2020, Mr Osama stated.
Management of the facility claimed that the records reflect the flexibility of the authiruty in dealing with crises caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In March 2021, navigation in the Suez Canal was interrupted when the giant shipping vessel Ever Given ran aground and blocked the waterway for nearly six days.
The incident disrupted the global shipping movement and halted the passage of hundreds of ships from the canal, incurring losses estimated between $12-15 million each day during the canal closure.
In November 2021, the SCA announced it will increase the toll fees for the ships transiting through the canal by 6 per cent as of February 2022.
Some 12 per cent of the world trade volume passes through the man-made canal, which is a major source of hard currency for the Egyptian government.
The Suez Canal is a major lifeline for global seaborne trade since it allows ships to travel between Europe and South Asia without navigating around Africa, thereby reducing the sea voyage distance between Europe and India by about 7,000 km.
The 193.3 km (120.1 miles) canal which is part of the Silk Road that connects Europe with Asia was constructed over a ten year period (1858- 1869) and officially opened in on 17 November 1869.
An estimated 120, 000 out of 1,500,000 hired and forced laborers who dugged the canal have been reported to have died during the project period.