Vessel in test run at new Suez Canal

August 2015

A Bahraini ship bound for Italy from Saudi Arabia was among the first to pass through Egypt’s New Suez Canal in a test-run ahead of its official opening.

The trial was a success, leading the UAE-based National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC) to announce completion of the new 72 km waterway, which runs alongside the original 146-year-old canal.

A total of six container ships from around the world navigated the canal as part of the trial run to ensure its readiness ahead of fully-fledged operations, the company said.

Three ships navigated the canal from Suez in the south through to the Mediterranean Sea, while the other three sailed in the opposite direction.

Bahrain’s contribution was the container ship Mayssan, which is owned by the United Arab Shipping Company and was registered in Bahrain in 2008, according to the Transportation and

Telecommunication Ministry’s Ports and Maritime Affairs shipping and seamanship registry director Mayas Al Agha.

The 85,000 tonne, 306-metre-long ship took two days to transit the canal and was bound for Livorno in Italy with a load of cargo from Jeddah.

The $8 billion New Suez Canal was built by the Egyptian army in less than 12 months and will be formally inaugurated by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi this month.

It is hoped that the new waterway will help expand trade along the shipping route, which connects Europe to Asia and earns Egypt around $5 billion per year.

An increase in two-way traffic will reduce navigation time and could triple revenue to $15 billion by 2023, according to official government projections.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian government also plans to build an international industrial and logistics hub near the canal that it hopes will eventually make up about a third of the economy.

Bahrain has another link to the project in the form of the locally-registered Dar Group (Shair and Partners), which was part of a consortium that last year won the bid to make the general plan for the canal project.

Suez Canal Authority chairman Mohab Mamish said previously that the consultancy was chosen out of 14 international firms that met tender specifications.

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