The chairman of the Suez Canal Authority said 85 ships are expected to pass the canal on both sides on Saturday.
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said the 422 ships stranded by the grounding of the giant container ship Ever Given crossed the canal on Saturday, ending the backlog caused by the strand.
Osama Rabie, chairman of the SCA, said 85 ships were to pass the canal on both sides on Saturday.
They include the last 61 ships of the 422 that were in line when the Ever Given was dislodged on Monday, ending the shipping backlog that built up during the crisis, he added.
International supply chains were in disarray when the 400-meter (430-meter) Ever Given grounded in the lifeline of commerce on March 23, specialist rescue teams having taken nearly a week to release it after numerous dredges and repeated towing operations.
An SCA investigation began on Wednesday into why the ship ran aground in the Suez Canal and blocked the waterway for six days, Rabie told MBC Masr on Friday evening.
“The investigation is going well and will take another two days, then we will announce the results.”
Visiting the channel this week, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said, “We must send a strong message to the world that the Suez Canal… can carry global trade at this rate or more.”
It was not yet clear whether the Suez Canal would opt to extend a second canal south of the one Egypt opened in 2015 at a cost of $ 8 billion along a 70 km stretch (43, 5 miles) from the waterway.
Such an extension would allow traffic to continue to flow even if a vessel were to be stranded.
“An expansion of the southern section of the canal can be considered,” el-Sisi said. “It depends on the technicians. We don’t want to take action just because of extraordinary situations. “
Rabie said Egypt would receive two new tugs, one next week and another in August, after the release of Ever Given, as well as the taking of the Middle East’s largest dredge and the organization of five new Chinese tugs.
But experts in the shipping industry have said specialized equipment and associated procedures have long struggled to keep up with the ever-growing size of commercial vessels.
“The average size of most vessels has grown exponentially over the past 15 years. The ability to save those bigger ships hasn’t been, ”said Peter Townsend, a marine insurance industry veteran. “The problem is removing the containers from a 20-story vessel at sea.”