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Record cargo shipped through Egypt’s Suez Canal last year

CAIRO (AFP) – Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority said the key waterway netted record revenues last year, despite the Coronavirus pandemic and a six-day blockage by giant cargo ship the Ever Given.

Connecting the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, the canal accounts for roughly 10 per cent of global maritime trade and is a source of much-needed foreign currency for Egypt.

In 2021, some 1.27 billion tonnes of cargo were shipped through the canal, earning USD6.3 billion in transit fees, 13 per cent more than the previous year and the highest figures ever recorded, Suez Canal Authority (SCA) chief Osama Rabie said.

The number of ships using the canal rose from 18,830 in 2020 to 20,694 in 2021, or more than 56 ships per day, the SCA said in a statement.

In March, the Ever Given super tanker – a – behemoth with deadweight tonnage of 199,000 – got stuck diagonally across the canal during a sandstorm.

A round-the-clock salvage operation took six days to dislodge it, and one employee of the SCA died during the rescue operation. Egypt lost some USD12 million to USD15 million each day during the canal closure, according to the SCA.

The Ever Given safely returned back through the canal without a hitch in August.

In November, the SCA said it will hike transit tolls by six per cent starting in 2022, but tourist vessels and liquefied natural gas carriers are be exempted.

The Ever Given super tanker got stuck diagonally across the canal during a sandstorm in March 2021. FILE PHOTO: AP