Middle EastOperationsPorts and Logistics

Suez Canal financial results fall flat

Revenues from the Suez Canal during September show a decline on last year’s figures, in spite of Egypt’s recently completed $8.5bn canal expansion project.

The figures are bad news for Egypt, for which the Suez Canal is a main source of foreign currency. Egypt’s foreign currency reserves fell almost 10% in September and the Egyptian pound has been devalued twice recently.

Monthly revenue from the canal was $448.8m in September, down $13m on the previous month and a 4.7% decrease on September of last year, when the figure was $469.8m.

At the end of September, the year-to-date toll income was $3.9bn, down 5% in comparision to the $4.1bn posted at the same point in 2014.

Results for August 2015 were even worse. Revenues stood at $462.1m, some 10% lower compared to $510m in August 2014.

The canal has been expanded to allow the simultaneous passage of vessels going both north and south, and reopened on August 6 this year.

In August 2014, Egypt’s finance minister Hany Kadry Dimian said the government expects revenue from the Canal to more than double before 2018 to more than $13bn, following the expansion project.

Falling vessel traffic in the Asia-Europe container trade lane has negatively affected the canal’s results. Today, an 18,000-teu Maersk EEE containership went into hot layup for six weeks, in response to the declining number of sailings on 2M’s Asia-Europe schedules.

Last month, the World Trade Organization (WTO) cut its forecast for global trade in 2015 by half a percentage point, saying world exports and imports should now rise by only 2.8% this year, down from a previous forecast of 3.3%.

Declining imports in China, volatile currency markets, falling commodities prices, volatile financial markets and US monetary policy all influenced the WTO’s outlook.

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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