A Royal Boskalis Westminster-led consortium has secured a contract to construct part of the ‘new’ Suez Canal.
The contract is worth $1.5bn and will be split equally between the four partners which in addition to Boskalis includes Van Oord, Abu Dhabi-based NMDC and Jan de Nul.
The ‘new’ Suez Canal will partially run in parallel to the current waterway and partially entail widening and deepening of existing parts.
The Boskalis contract includes the construction of the parallel section of the canal with a length of about 50km as well as the widening and deepening of a number of existing sections to a depth of 24 meters.
The majority of the dredging activities for the canal expansion will be executed with 17 cutter suction dredgers.
Boskalis said the project is due to start later this year and is expected to be completed sometime in 2015.
In a separate statement Consortium Dredging International - a tie-up between Belgium's DEME Group and the US-listed Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co - said it had also won a contract from Egypt worth $540m.
The consortium has been awarded the assignment to deepen and widen the western branch of the Suez Canal at Great Bitter Lake, Deversoir Reach and Kabreet Reach.
The scope of works include the widening and deepening of the Suez Canal over a length of 25 km and until a depth of 24 metres.
Six cutter suction dredgers and two hopper dredgers including some auxiliary equipment will be mobilized to perform the job. Work will start immediately.
In early August Egypt announced plans to invest $8.4bn to create a waterway running parallel to the Suez Canal.
Mohab Mamish, head of the Suez Development Authority, said the project will reduce maximum ship waiting times from 11 hours to three.
The Suez Canal is one of Egypt’s main sources of foreign currency. Its revenue is worth $5bn a year to the Egyptian economy.