What does the new Suez expansion mean for Egypt?
Amid much pomp and ceremony, the new extension to Egypt’s Suez Canal was unveiled by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, as well as Dubai’s ruler and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The project consists of a 35 kilometre lane running in parallel to the existing waterway, which will enable more ships to use the canal at any one time. The Suez Canal has also undergone extensive deepening, as well as a widening of the waterway by 37 kilometres of the existing canal to cut transit times while enabling easier passage for larger ships.
According to predictions from the Egyptian Government, the project will enable 97 ships per day (up from 43) by the year 2023 and will reduce southbound transit by up to 7 hours. The project raised $8.5 billion in order to be completed; Egypt says that the expanded canal will claw in $13.2 billion by 2023 (up from a current figure of $5.3 billion.)
The Suez Canal accounts for around 7 percent of world sea trade; container vessels account for over 50 percent of the canal’s tonnage. Everything from Chinese textiles and Indian Basmati Rice to German machinery or French wine passes through the Suez Canal.
However, the announced benefits of the expansion have been called into question by a number of analysts, notably Ahmed Kamaly of the American University in Cairo who told Reuters: "There was no viability study done, or known of." He also stated that the extension was constructed to have achieve political unity rather than one that will bring the benefits that have been promised.
Although the long term benefits remain to be seen, Suez Canal and Container Terminal (SCCT) has already made serious investments which strongly anticipate increased cargo traffic. Ordering another four of each of its cranes, the company has already laid down an investment of $42 million.
READ our company report on the Suez Canal and Container Terminal, with an exclusive interview with Managing Director Klaus Holm Laursen.
It is clear that the initial project has proven to boost both morale and the local economy of the rebuilding country; only time will tell if the lofty predictions made will come to fruition. Since shipping is so closely linked to world trade outcomes, the exact outcome is far from certain.
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”