The Suez Canal Authority has awarded two contracts worth more than US$ 2 billion linked to the project to increase the shipping capacity of Egypt’s Suez Canal.

The scheme will see a new 50 km channel dug parallel to the existing canal to allow ships to travel in both directions on what has hitherto been a single lane route. Sections of the existing channel will also be deepened and widened.

A consortium of Boskalis, Van Oord, NMDC and Jan de Nul has won a US$ 1.5 billion contract, with each partner entitled to an equal share of USD 375 million. This covers construction of the parallel route and some work on the existing canal. Boskalis said the majority of the dredging for the canal expansion will be executed with 17 cutter suction dredgers, with the project due to start this year and reach completion in 2015.

In addition, a joint venture between DEME’s Dredging International (75%) and Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company (25%) has been awarded the US$ 540 million contract to deepen and widen the western branch of the Suez Canal at Great Bitter Lake, Deversoir Reach and Kabreet Reach. The scope of works includes the widening and deepening the Suez Canal over a length of 25 km.

Six cutter suction dredgers and two hopper dredgers and auxiliary equipment will be used on the project, which is to start immediately.

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