The construction of a wide access channel to Port Said East, as the side channel project, has officially received approval.
The head of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), vice admiral Mohab Mamish, has approved the construction of a new access channel to Port Said East which will which will permit uninterrupted vessel traffic to visit Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT) round the clock.
Egypt plans to complete the side channel, that would speed up shipping and allow ships direct entry into the port by the end of June 2016, Mohab said.
Vessels currently calling Port Said East are restricted to an eight-hour daily transit window due to convoy traffic on the canal.
The channel will be 9.55 kilometers (5 miles) long, 17 meters (55 feet) deep and 250 meters (820 feet) wide.
The new channel dredging will cost $36 million, of which $7.5 million will be financed by the Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT), Memish said. SCCT is 55 percent owned by APM Terminals, part of Maersk Group.
"We are building the side channel which will allow the ships to enter from open waters directly into East Port Said," said Memish.
The side channel project is part of the Suez Canal Development Project, which included the opening of an expanded section of the Suez Canal this past August. The expansion permits two-way traffic along the 163-kilometer (101-mile) long canal, which links the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.
In August Egypt launched an $8 billion Canal extension project which it expects to bring in $13.23 billion in annual revenue by 2023 from just over $5 billion in 2014.