Egypt on Tuesday raised transit fees for ships passing through the Suez Canal, one of the world’s most important waterways, with increases of up to 10%.

The Suez Canal Authority said on its website that the increases were “in line with the significant growth in world trade” and cited the “development and improvement of the transit service” of the canal. According to a statement, transit fees for ships carrying liquefied petroleum gas, chemicals and other liquid bulk products have increased by 10%.

Vessels carrying vehicles, natural gas and general cargo, as well as multipurpose vessels, will see a 7% increase, while a 5% increase will be imposed on oil tankers and dry bulk vessels, the release said. These increases could be revised or cancelled at a later date, depending on developments in global shipping, it added.

The canal authorities have been working to widen and deepen the southern part of the waterway, where a huge ship ran aground and closed the canal in March 2021. The six-day blockage disrupted global shipments. Some ships were forced to take the long route around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa, incurring extra fuel and other costs. Hundreds of other ships waited on-site for the blockade to end.

About 10% of world trade, including 7% of oil, passes through the Suez Canal, which links the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. For Egypt, the canal – which was first opened in 1869 – is a source of national pride and foreign exchange. Authorities said 20,649 ships passed through the canal last year, a 10% increase on the 18,830 ships in 2020. The canal’s annual revenue reached $6.3 billion in 2021, the highest figure in its history.

Last month, 1,713 ships passed through the waterway, bringing in $545 million in revenue, according to Admiral Osama Rabie, head of the Suez Canal Authority. In February last year, 1,532 ships passed through the canal, earning $474 million. The shipping industry is still under pressure from the pandemic, and the war in Ukraine may add to global economic concerns.

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