Business / Companies

Chinese shipping company looks forward to new Suez Canal

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-05-21 09:40

Suez - A giant Chinese shipping company is looking forward to the opening of Egypt's new Suez Canal waterway as it will enhance world trade.

"The new canal will save both time and money," Qin Haipin, liner manager of China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) in Egypt, told Xinhua.

Qin said the geographical position of the Suez Canal makes it the shortest route between East and West.

"This saves time, fuel consumption and ship operating costs and gives us some flexibility in managing capacity," said Qin, whose company has six offices in Egypt.

CSCL, which has a fleet of over 150 vessels including the world's largest container ships, believes that the new canal can cope with the development in ship sizes and tonnages.

The current Suez Canal facilitates only one-way traffic since it is too narrow for large ships to cross both directions.

However, the new canal will solve this problem by cutting the ships waiting time from 11 to three hours.

"The cost saving by the new canal would be around $60,000 to $70,000 per ship," Zhou Chenwei, captain of CSCL's "Indian Ocean" vessel, the world's largest container ship that has crossed through the Suez Canal Tuesday, told Xinhua.

The "Indian Ocean" ship is 400m in length and 58.6m wide, about the size of four football fields. It can carry 19,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) shipping containers.

The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. It was opened for navigation in November 1869 after 10 years of construction.

The 163 km-long waterway is one of the most important waterways in the world since it allows ships to travel between Europe and South Asia without navigating around Africa, thereby reducing the sea voyage distance between Europe and India by about 7,000 kilometers.

In August last year, Egypt launched a project to dig a new 72-km canal alongside the original Suez Canal. The new canal is supposed to be inaugurated this August and is expected to provide more than one million job opportunities.

The new artificial waterway, which is part of a larger project to expand Suez port and shipping facilities and build large industrial zones, is designed to raise Egypt's international profile, and build the nation as a major trade hub.

Zhou Chenwei said that Chinese ships are among those which cross the canal most. Since the New Suez Canal could save a lot of time and oil cost, it will help CSCL provide a better service for the prosperity of international trade along the line and thus make a contribution to achieving China's Belt and Road Initiative.

"Egypt is a key player in implementing the strategy. The Suez Canal will also play a key role to make the strategy a reality," he said.

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