Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority yesterday announced an all-time revenue record, earning US$7 billion during the past fiscal year following a series of toll hikes for vessels transiting the vital waterway.
Between July last year and last month — Egypt’s fiscal year — about 1.32 billion tonnes of cargo were shipped through the canal, Suez Canal Authority (SCA) head Osama Rabie said.
The income is more than one-fifth higher than the previous fiscal year’s US$5.8 billion in transit fees, and the highest figure ever recorded.
“Global crises have proven the importance of the Suez Canal to ensuring the sustainability of global supply chains,” Rabie said.
Connecting the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, the canal accounts for about 10 percent of global maritime trade.
It is also a source of much-needed foreign currency for Egypt, which is battling crippling inflation and a currency devaluation triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The SCA has hiked passage tolls for transiting vessels, including fuel tankers, twice this year.
In April, the waterway recorded its highest-ever monthly revenue of US$629 million, despite the rise in oil prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
As Egypt reels under mounting economic pressures from the war, foreign currency reserves fell US$5.5 billion from March to May to stand at US$35.5 billion.
Soaring world commodity prices helped push Egyptian inflation to a three-year high of 15.3 percent last month, according to official figures.
In late March, the Central Bank of Egypt allowed the Egyptian pound to depreciate against the US dollar, causing it to lose about 18 percent of its value overnight.
Cairo has been rushing to mitigate the economic fallout, requesting a new loan from the IMF, and rallying billions of dollars’ worth of investment from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Last week, Egypt announced that it is to receive US$500 million from the World Bank.
Earlier this year, the SCA reported the canal’s highest annual revenue for a calendar year, netting US$6.3 billion last year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and a six-day blockage by giant cargo ship the Ever Given.
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