Dutch firm to build second Suez Canal

A consortium around the Dutch dredging companies Boskalis and Van Oord has received the order to build a new Suez Canal in Egypt. The order is worth 1.5 billion dollars (1.2 billion euro) divided equally among the four consortium members: Boskalis, Van Oord, the Flemish Jan de Nul and NMDC from Abu Dhabi.

This was announced a press conference on Saturday by the Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and Mohab Memish, the head of the Suez Canal Authority. The dredging project will start this week and has to be done by August next year.

Boskalis calls this one of the largest dredging projects of the decade. The new Suez Canal will lie partly parallel to the current one, which opened in 1869. The consortium received the order to dredge the parallel portion of 50 kilometer long, so that ships can pass each other. Mostly one way traffic is possible on the current Suez Canal.

The four dredgers will also deepen and widen a number of existing sections of the Suez canal to a depth of 24 meters, for which 180 million cubic meters of sand will be removed.

The 193 kilometer long Suez Canal is one of the world's major shipping routes. Last year 17 thousand ships crossed the channel. The connection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea annually brings 3.9 billion euro into the Egyptian economy.

The Egyptian government could really use some economic success. Since the Egyptian revolution in 2011, the income from tourism and foreign investment has drastically declined.

With this expansion, the government hopes to almost triple the income from the waterway. President Al-Sisi also hopes to create one million new jobs with the expansion.