Admiral/ Mohab Mamish, Chairman and Managing Director of the Suez Canal Authority declared that “the Suez Canal is the main route for world trade, and no other alternative can take its place in the field of maritime transport”. That announcement came in response to exaggerated news that spread on newspapers and news websites, alleging that vessels are changing routes to the Cape of Good Hope instead of the Suez Canal due to the drop in world oil prices. Such allegations are based on a report by Seaintell, a Danish research center for maritime traffic analysis.
Adm. Mamish added that traffic in the Suez Canal during 2015 showed an increase in the number of transiting vessels and total net tonnage, as 17483 vessels transited the Suez Canal in 2015 with an increase of 335 vessels equivalent to 2% compared to 2014. The net tonnages transported through 2015 registered 998.7 million tons in 2015 an increase of 36 million tons equivalent to 3.7% compared to 2014.
With regard to traffic of containerships in the Suez Canal, the total net tonnages of such type jumped from only 536.3 million tons in 2014 to 555.6 million tons in 2015 showing an increase of 19.3 million tons equal to 3.6%.
It is notable that the total tonnage of vessels traveling between the East Coast of the United States and the Far East through the Suez Canal has surged from 5 million tons in 2005 to 60 million tons in 2015. That is 12 times higher in 10 years, thanks to the Suez Canal’s ability to accommodate the world’s largest ships which shows unparalleled competitiveness over alternative routes.
As for the allegation that vessels are changing routes to the Cape of Good Hope, the statistics shows that the number of ships adopting this policy does not exceed 115 ships since October 2015. That number represents 0.6% of the total number of vessels that transited the Canal in 2015, which is a very small percentage that does not show a general tendency in the Canal traffic.
On the other hand, by applying flexible marketing policies, the Suez Canal has managed to attract two new shipping lines; “PEX 3” of “CMA CGM” starting April 2016, and “Seven Stars Express” starting from the last quarter of 2015, which will add 104 ships to the Canal traffic.
Regarding the drop in world oil prices and its impact on traffic in the Suez Canal, Adm. Mamish added that the decline started mid 2014 at $110 per barrel till it reached approximately $30 per barrel in the last quarter of 2015.
Despite all that, February 2016 witnessed a notable increase in revenues, number of transiting vessels and total net tonnage. As for revenues, February 2016 registered $US 401.4 million against $US 381.9 million in February 2015, with an increase of increase of about $US 19.4 million, equivalent to 5.1%. That amount equals 3.09 billion Egyptian pounds in 2016 with an increase of 227.3 million pounds or 7.9% compared to February 2015.
As for the number of transiting vessels, it jumped from 1219 in Feb. 2015, to 1300 in Feb. 2016 with an increase of 81 vessels equivalent to 6.6%.
The total net tonnages transported in Feb. 2016 reached 77.7 million tons against 73 million tons in Feb. 2015 with an increase of 6.4%.
Adm. Mamish concluded that the Suez Canal Authority is capable of running this vital waterway for the prosperity of Egypt and the world. The Suez Canal was working in full gear in 2015, and witnessed unprecedented volume of work, carried out in parallel at the same time. We had a large project for establishing the NEW SUEZ CANAL that coincided with the development project of the Canal Zone and the dredging of the East Port Said Channel. All these activities have been implemented simultaneously, without any interruption or hindrance to navigation. Not only this, but the Suez Canal has registered new records in tonnages, revenues and numbers of transiting vessels.