• Suez Canal expansion to open early
  • Expansion scheme will add 34-kilometre channel running parallel to existing canal

The expansion of the Suez Canal is set to open earlier than scheduled, according to sources close to the project.

The canal’s expansion, which was scheduled for completion on 6 August, is now expected to open in late July.

The expansion scheme will add a 34-kilometre channel running parallel to the existing canal. This will allow for more ships to pass through the waterway, reducing waiting times.

Currently, ships travelling from the north have to berth for several hours to wait for convoys of vessels from the south to pass. A 2013 report from the Washington-based World Bank found the canal was providing limited returns, and this project is hoped to reverse the situation.

The scheme is being funded by investment certificates. In September, the government said it had raised the $8.5bn-worth of funds needed. The certificates have a 12 per cent interest rate, pay quarterly dividends and come in denominations of £E10, £E100 and £E1000 ($1.4-$140).

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