Today marked a major event in Egypt’s history that has been characterized by the Suez Canal Authority as “Egypt’s Gift to the World.”
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi welcomed foreign leaders aboard a historic yacht as helicopters and fighter jets flew by during the opening of the expansion of the Suez Canal, which deepens the main waterway and provides ships with a 35km (22 mile) channel parallel to it.
Security was tightened for the inauguration ceremony amid fears of attack by militants allied to Islamic State.
The project which cost $8.5 billion is expected to boost revenue from the canal to $13.2 billion (up from $5.3 billion). It is comprised of 72 km of new channel and bypasses.
By 2023 it is expected that 97 ships per day will travel through the canal (up for 49).
The original canal currently handles 7% of global sea-borne trade.
As reported by the BBC, the government hopes the revenues will revive the economy. However some analysts have questioned the projections noting that the volume of world trade has not been growing at the pace needed to deliver the sums Egypt hopes to collect.