The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has commended the New Suez Canal during a site visit today in Ismailia.
With just one week until the inauguration, a committee consisting of the industry’s top governing bodies toured the canal in order to assess its readiness for international navigation.
“The impression we’re taking away is this is a huge undertaking and it has been completed in a time which is frankly astonishing,” said Peter Hinchcliffe of the ICS.
“It’s very pleasing to see that preparations are in place for the grand opening on August 6. More than that, I think what I will take away today is the desire to continue our dialogue into the future. That is very important for us because we are representing the customers who will be using the canal in the coming years,” he continued.
The committee was greeted by Admiral Mohab Mameesh, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority – owners of the New Suez Canal project – who welcomed its members to the simulation building on site in Ismailia, as well as accompanied them on a tour of the entire length of the new waterway.
“We are sending the world a message through the New Suez Canal,” said the Admiral in a subsequent press conference. “By reducing transit time your food will come faster, your medicine will come faster, your fuel will come faster, and your spare parts will come faster.”
He claimed the estimated cost of digging for the project was US$4 billion, as well as an additional US$4 billion spent on the construction of six new tunnels. Official figures are to be released soon.
“This is Egypt’s gift to the world. We promised, and we delivered,” he said. “President Sisi will announce on August 6 that the canal is fully operational.”
Hinchcliffe reiterated the importance of the New Suez Canal, claiming the shipping industry delivers 90 percent of world trade – which is predicted to grow three percent year-on-year.
He later thanked the Suez Canal Authority for its hospitality. The committee was made up of delegates from Lloyds Register, International Group, Baltic Exchange, Intertanko, Japan and Egypt.
The endorsement of the canal provided the icing on the cake prior to the official inauguration on August 6.