New 3rd July tunnel under the Suez Canal just south of Port of Said helps offer faster access to the Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT) and improves its position to become Egypt’s primary gateway terminal.
Full export containers are now completing security checks, which include passing through one of six dedicated x-ray scanners, and crossing the tunnel in around 40 minutes – a vast improvement on the traditional West to East ferry crossing.
Empty containers are taking around 20 minutes and further improvements in transiting containers from East and West Egypt via the tunnels is expected as the tunnel’s management gains experience.
Lars Vang Christensen, CEO of SCCT, said: “The new tunnel, built to internationally recognised security standards, provides a fast connection to the highly populated districts in the Nile Delta and key industrial zones in Greater Cairo, also making SCCT a cost-effective option for import and export customers.”
Construction of the twin-tubed, four-lane road tunnel, which is also known as Port Said tunnel, began in 2017 and its inauguration follows the opening of the Ismailia tunnel earlier in 2019.
The West to East ferry and the Ahmed Hamdy Tunnel were traditionally used for import consignments but both have, in the past, experienced occasional congestion which has lead to delays in truck turnaround times.
The new Port Said tunnel has already helped to reduce congestion at existing access points and, compared to previous routes, it should significantly reduce trucking costs and therefore lower costs for the Egyptian consumer supply chain when using SCCT.
Each of the four lanes in the 2.8 km-long tunnel are 3.75 m wide and it has a height restriction of 4.6 m making it suitable for all types of dry and reefer containers, standard and high-cube containers.
Until all processes have been fine-tuned, its current operating hours are between 8am and 6pm and discussions are ongoing with relevant authorities regarding night shift operations of the tunnel.
SCCT, which is operated by APM Terminals, has an annual capacity of 5m teu and, with the anticipated higher volumes, it is currently considering several options to invest in taller cranes and equipment to cater to more volume and activity in Port Said East Port.
Recent tunnel investments are part of the broader Government of Egypt Vision 2030 which focuses on creating jobs and a balanced market economy that is competitive on the world stage.