Superyacht Transit Time Reduced By Suez Canal Expansion. The expansion of the Suez Canal by the country of Egypt, an $8.6 billion project that will allow two-way traffic through the creation of a new 72km channel, is slated for completion in early August. The new channel is expected to reduce the waiting time for transiting vessels by eight hours, which is expected to have significant impact on seasonal superyacht migration from east to west and vice versa.
At present, there are two convoys—one of 25 ships occurring at 01:00 and another at 07:00, along with a northbound convoy at 06:00, However because the canal only accommodates one way traffic, the convoy traveling from Port Said to the Red Sea must drop anchor at Bitter Lake to wait for the ships coming the other way to pass. All ships experience a seven-hour delay.
Captain Yasser Gamal, operation manager for MEESA Egypt has indicted that transiting superyachts will have average journey times fall from 17 to nine hours. Traffic is also expected to jump from 49 to 97 vessels per day. The new passage, with a draft of 20 meters, will be able to accommodate the largest superyachts.
The Suez is an important maritime landmark as it is a direct route from the northern hemisphere to cruising areas in Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific.
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