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New Record for Daily Transits of the Suez Canal

Suez Canal record transits
Ever Gifted led one of the convoys during today's record volume at the Suez Canal (Suez Canal Authority)

Published Mar 13, 2023 1:38 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Suez Canal set a record for the number of transits through the waterway in a single day. It is the result of an ongoing effort designed to expand the capacity and enhance navigation safety.

A total of 107 vessels made the transit in either direction on March 13, a 15 percent increase in traffic from just a month ago. The Suez Canal Authority reports that a total of 7.3 million tons transited the canal today. This included 56 vessels with a total of 3.4 million tons heading southbound in a convoy while 51 vessels with 2.9 million tons were heading northbound.

The Suez Canal’s Chairman, Admiral Ossama Rabiee highlighted that the new volumes would not have been achieved without the New Suez Canal project. The project is expanding the waterway adding a new channel in the southern sections as well as improving some of the navigational issues in the area. According to Rabiee, the work is also designed to aid with the transit of the new generation of ultra large container vessels expected to be using the canal in the near future. OOCL recently took delivery on the first of its new large vessels and last week MSC took delivery on its first ultra large vessels including the largest capacity containership yet built.

In addition to the new channel and enhancement to navigation in the canal, the project calls for the introduction of additional support vessels. The recent grounding of an MSC boxship and earlier this year LGN carriers that experienced engine trouble demonstrated the importance of having tugboats on standby to assist with clearing issues before they become a significant blockage of the waterway.

 

 

Today’s transits came from a diverse group of ships. The southbound convoy was headed by the Ever Gifted (198,886 DWT), a five-year-old containership with a carrying capacity of 20,124 TEU. The vessel was heading from Greece to Malaysia. The northbound convoy was headed by a similar sized vessel, the Cosco Shipping Universe (198,485 TEU) with a carrying capacity of 21,237 TEU, which is heading from Singapore to Greece. A total of 25 containerships were among today’s vessels.

Others making today’s transit included a total of 33 tankers and 28 bulk carriers. There were also six car carriers and 15 general cargo and alike.

The changes in the oil markets have been reflected by an increased number of tankers through the Suez Canal in recent months. Despite raising the tariff for tankers, the canal reports it had its highest monthly total for tankers in January 2023. A total of 677 transited with a total net tonnage of 34.5 million tons.

 

Tanker volumes set a record in January at the Suez Canal (SCA photo)

 

January 2023 was the highest monthly revenue in the history of the Suez Canal.  Illustrating the growth in transits as the expansion project progressed and demand for the waterway, January’s average was 70 vessels per day. Revenues were $802 million for the month, which was seven percent ahead of the previous record in August 2018. Revenues a year ago, in January 2022, by comparison, were $546 million even during the global surge in container volumes.