ISMAILIA, Egypt — The first cargo ships passed through Egypt’s New Suez Canal on Saturday in a test-run before it opens next month, state media reported, 11 months after the army began constructing the US$8 billion canal alongside the existing 145-year-old Suez Canal.
The new waterway, which President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hopes will help expand trade along the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia and give a boost to Egypt’s economy, will be formally inaugurated on Aug. 6.
Sisi wants the canal to become a symbol of national pride and to help combat Egypt’s double-digit unemployment. The old Suez Canal is already a vital source of hard currency for Egypt, which has seen tourism and foreign investment drain away in the years of turmoil since a 2011 uprising.
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Three container ships crossed the new waterway, state news agency MENA reported. One…
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