Suez Canal revenues continue to fall

27 October 2015

Global trade slowdown has decreased the waterway’s revenues amid high expectations following the opening of the canal’s expansion

  • Revenues fall by 4.4 per cent in September
  • The canal’s revenues increased only by 0.14 per cent during the fiscal year of 2014-2015
  • Suez Canal Authority head says the development of the SCZone is “more urgent than ever”

Revenues from Egypt’s Suez Canal contracted by 4.4 per cent in September, reaching $448m compared to $468.7m in the same month last year, according to statistics from the Suez Canal Authority.

The canal’s revenues only increased by 0.14 per cent during the fiscal year of 2014-2015, reaching $5.37bn compared to $5.36 billion in the previous year, according to the Central Bank of Egypt.

The waterway’s performance is linked with a slowing down of global trade despite the opening of the New Suez Canal in August this year. The Suez Canal Authority has projected revenues to reach $13.3bn by 2023, although international rating’s agencies have said global trade would need to increase by 10 per cent a year for this to be achievable.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has lowered its forecast for world trade growth in 2015 to 2.8 per cent, from the 3.3 per cent forecast made in April, and reduced its estimate for 2016 to 3.9 per cent from 4.0 per cent.

In August Egypt opened the $8.2bn expansion project, which was completed within a year and within budget

A new 72-kilometre long waterway will enable two-way traffic and double the current daily ship capacity. The Suez Canal is an important source of scarce foreign currency for Egypt.

MEED had earlier reported that Egypt’s expansion of the Suez Canal and the plans to develop land along the waterway are aimed at kickstarting the diversification of the economy

The Finance Ministry is pushing through legislation for a 500 square-kilometre Suez Canal Zone (SCZone). It will cater to a broad range of sectors, including manufacturing, logistics, ship repair, and more. The authorities expect the zone to create 1 million jobs over the next 15 years.

Head of the Suez Canal Authority told MEED on 18 October: “A slowdown in global trade has meant the development of the SCZone is more urgent than ever”.

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