The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) signed a contract in November 2015 to dredge a new 9.5 kilometer (six mile) long side access channel which will be 250 meters (about 820 feet) wide and 18.5 meters (60 feet) deep. The work is estimated to cost US$60 million and will be completed this spring. Some 15 million cubic meters (19.5 million cubic yards) of material will be dredged. The new channel will enable round-the clock access to the eastern part of Port Said. At present vessels have to join the Suez Canal convoy to reach Port Said.
The side canal project is being carried out by the consortium of the Belgian Dredging International (DEME Group) and US-based Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company. The consortium previously realized Lot 6 for the expansion of the Suez Canal in 2015. Among other vessels DEME’s trailing suction hopper dredges Congo River and Nile River with DP/DT (dynamic positioning/ dynamic tracking systems) will execute the dredging works to deepen the channel. A floating bridge estimated to cost US$8.9 million (EGP70 million) will also be built at the East Port to carry loads of up to 70 tons.
Port Said at the northern end of the Suez Canal is one of Egypt’s most important ports on the Mediterranean Sea. Thanks to the new eastern side canal ships sailing to and from Port Said will no longer interfere with maritime convoys of the nearby Suez Canal. Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT) located at East Port Said has been calling for the dredging of this channel for several years and has pledged US$15 million towards the project of which it has already contributed half. The development of this approach channel to East Port Said will enable the terminal operated by Maersk-subsidiary APM Terminals (APMT) to double its capacity from some 2500 vessel calls per year to 5000.