The Suez Canal Authority and Egyptian government have awarded a contract worth just over $2 billion (£1.27 billion) to a consortium of six international dredging companies to expand and deepen the waterway.
The project will start before the end of the year and is scheduled for completion by August 2015. It will involve constructing a parallel 50km section of canal to allow ships to transit in two directions simultaneously.
Contracts have been awarded to two partnerships within the consortium, called ‘Challenge Coalition’. Four dredging companies – Van Oord and Royal Boskalis Westminster, both from the Netherlands, National Marine Dredging Company of the United Arab Emirates and Jan de Nul from Belgium – have won a contract worth $1.5 billion, receiving $375 million each.
A second partnership of US company Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company and Belgium company Deme Group has been awarded a $540 million contract.
Head of the Suez Canal Authority Admiral Mohab Mamish announced the consortium at a Cairo news conference, alongside Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb.