Egypt celebrates first ferries to cross New Suez Canal

Egypt's New Suez Canal will open on Aug. 6, its overseer announced last week

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Two ferries crossed the recently completed New Suez Canal in Egypt on Thursday, making them the first vessels to navigate from the east bank of the canal to the west, Egypt Independent news website reported.

Egypt's New Suez Canal will open on Aug. 6, its overseer announced last week.

"The digging and dredging works will conclude on July 15. The opening of the New Suez Canal will be on Aug. 6, according to the orders of the Egyptian people and the Egyptian president," Mohab Mameesh, chairman and managing director of the Suez Canal Authority, told a news conference in Ismailia.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sees the project as a potent symbol of national pride and a major chance to stimulate an economy suffering double-digit unemployment

“It is a historic day for Egypt under the leadership of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi,” Ahmed Saeed, a worker at the New Suez Canal project, said.

The army began work 10 months ago on the $8 billion canal, flanking the existing, historic 145-year-old waterway and part of a larger undertaking to expand trade along the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

The Suez Canal is a vital source of hard currency for Egypt, particularly since the 2011 uprising that scared off tourists and foreign investment.

[With Reuters]

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