UAE-led consortium completes New Suez Canal

The Challenge Consortium, led by Abu Dhabi-headquartered National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC), has announced the completion of the New Suez Canal Project in Egypt

The $1.5bn (EGP11.75bn) New Suez Canal Project was completed by the UAE-led Challenge Consortium.
The $1.5bn (EGP11.75bn) New Suez Canal Project was completed by the UAE-led Challenge Consortium.

An international consortium led by UAE-based National marine Dredging Company (NMDC) has completed the New Suez Canal Project in Egypt.

The $1.5bn (EGP11.75bn) project was undertaken by the Challenge Consortium, an NMDC-led collaboration that also included Boskalis, Van Oord, and Jan de Nul. News of the completion was announced following a successful trial run of the canal, which took place on 25 July, 2015.

At the launch of the project, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stipulated that the implementation period should be reduced from three years to one, representing a significant challenge for NDPC and the Challenge Consortium.

Commenting on the completion of the project, Eng Yasser Zaghloul, CEO of NMDC and chairman of the Challenge Consortium, said: “To realise this formidable task in record time, we deployed 26 dredgers and 40 additional [pieces of] equipment – an unprecedented number to have been deployed in a single project within a tight schedule of less than 12 months. The short duration of the project meant speeding up the ground deployment and logistic works.

“The first dredgers arrived at the site and began work within two weeks after signing the contract, something unheard of in the history of deep excavation and dredging. Within record time, we commenced the project work, which continued non-stop around the clock as we were racing against time to meet the deadline and leave our footprints in modern Egypt’s history,” Zaghloul added.

The new canal, which will allow the passage of larger vessels and reduce waiting times, is expected to open up fresh revenue streams for the Egyptian economy. Works executed by the Challenge Consortium involved digging a 35km-long stretch of waterway to a depth of 24m and a width of 317m.

Zaghloul explained: “For this project, we leveraged our extensive expertise… of dredging and marine construction gained from our association with major projects in the UAE and abroad. Our biggest challenge was to implement the project in short timeframe of less than a year; that required [the] dredging of 1.5m cubic metres every day – a huge rate as per any industry norm.

“During some months, we even outpaced the highest global record of eight-million cubic metres per month… dredging more than 40-million cubic metres. The total amount of sand dredged in the project reached more than 200-million cubic metres, a formidable number by any industry standards,” he said.

The official inauguration of the New Suez Canal will take place on 6 August, 2015.

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