The number of vessels that passed through Egypt’s Suez Canal in January declined by almost 16 per cent compared with January last year.

There was also a 12 per cent decrease in cargo traffic and a 10.4 per cent decrease in net tonnage.

This decline saw revenue from the canal fall to $405.1m in January, a 4 per cent decline on December’s results and a 10 per cent fall compared with January 2012.

A total of 248 vessels passed through the canal, with net tonnage decreasing to 268 vessels.

With Egypt’s ongoing political instability and a failing economy, the canal is one the main ways the country can raise much-needed foreign currency.

In late January, the Suez Canal Authority said it would raise fees for all vessels passing through the canal in an attempt to increase government revenues.

However, the hike in rates coupled with political uncertainty and a generally tough global shipping market could see a further reduction in vessel traffic through the canal.