• Official opening for new Suez Canal lane on 6 August
  • Trial run carried out under heavy security
  • Authorities hoping to increase revenues from $5.3bn in 2015 to $13.2bn in 2023

Egypt has held a trial run for the new Suez Canal expansion, with the first cargo ship passing through on 25 July.

The construction of the new lane is complete, with the official opening ceremony to be held on 6 August.

The cargo ship passed through as helicopters and naval vessels followed, in a symbolic trial run that was carried out under major security concerns in the Sinai Peninsula.

Following a national subscription to raise the necessary funds, $8.5bn was promised in just six days by ordinary Egyptians. Work began on 6 August 2014.

The project to build a new 72-kilometre waterway will enable two-way traffic and double the current daily ship capacity.

The Suez Canal is an important source of foreign currency for Egypt.

The government hopes the canal authority will increase its annual revenue from $5.3bn in 2015 to $13.2bn in 2023.

The finance ministry also recently pushed 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 investment needed is estimated at $50bn, with $15bn for infrastructure and utilities, $15bn for enhancing ports, and $20bn for industrial and other areas.

Stay informed with the latest in the Middle East
Download the MEED app today, available on Apple and Android devices