Egypt said it had begun dredging works for expanding the Suez Canal’s southern section to allow two-way traffic in the international man-made waterway.
The country’s Suez Canal Authority (SCA) announced this in a statement by its Chairman, Osama Rabie, on Saturday.
The dredging, according to the authority, is part of a project to develop the southern entrance of the Suez Canal.
Rabie said in the statement that the project “is a continuation of developing the waterway” that began with the opening of the new Suez Canal in 2015.
He added that dredging works would take place in several stages.
The project, Rabie said, would raise the efficiency of the canal and reduce the transit time for ships, in addition to increasing the safety of navigation in the southern section.
Last week, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi approved the SCA’s plan to expand and deepen the southern stretch of the Suez Canal.
The project, to be completed in two years, is expected to widen and deepen 40 km of the waterway, including the part where a container ship Ever Given became jammed and blocked traffic for six days in March.
The SCA will also widen the 30 km southern stretch of the waterway between the city of Suez and the Bitter Lakes area by 40 meters, and deepen that section from 20 to 21 meters.