The Egyptian Army has said that it is planning to re-open the Al-Salaam Bridge over the Suez Canal within days.
The bridge, which is the main gateway to the Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT), closed in September 2013 due to fears militants opposed to the country’s ruler Abdel Fatah el-Sisi could plant a car bomb on it.
However, the Army has not yet confirmed whether trucks will be able to use the bridge.
Without the bridge, trucks have to use two ferries to reach SCCT, increasing inland costs and delivery times.
Alternatively, they can use the Ahmed Hamdy tunnel in Suez but this involves a long detour and is partially closed for maintenance.
A SCCT spokesperson told CM that the terminal’s local volumes had been very affected by the bridge’s closure and that its opening, if trucks can use it, will help the terminal’s local volumes “tremendously”.
The Suez Canal Authority has also launched a EGP29bn (US$3.7bn) project to build six tunnels underneath the canal, three at Port Said at the canal’s Northern tip and three at Ismailia. At each location, two tunnels will be for road and one will be for rail.
Sisi has made the promotion of the Suez Canal and the fight against terrorism two of the defining issues of his leadership and analysts have said that he has been largely successful in preventing attacks on vessels transiting the canal.
Security measures have included extensive patrols and a heavy military presence as well as restrictions on crossings and local small boat activity in the area.
The government aims to create a new development zone around the canal which will include homes, factories, logistics centres and even new cities.
Egypt’s crucial tourism sector has suffered since political turmoil erupted during the Arab Spring and the government is hoping logistics can help make up for that economic loss.