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World trade flat as Suez access opens

EAST PORT SAID, Egypt: February 26, 2016. A new 8.5 km (5.2 mile) access channel linking the East Port Said port complex to the Mediterranean is now open - eliminating a 6-8 hour wait for vessels heading to the Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT).

APM TERMINALS SUEZThe channel project took three months to complete at a cost of US$40 million and provides 24-hour access to East Port Said and the SCCT for 18,000+ TEU-capacity vessels deployed in the Far East/Europe trades.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, SCCT terminal director Jan Buijze said: “I would like to express both my appreciation and my admiration of Admiral Mamish, the Suez Canal Authority, and the Government of Egypt for their inspiring dedication to this historic infrastructure investment, which emphasizes the key role that Egypt plays in global trade and the global economy.”

APM Terminals owns 55 percent of SCCT. Other shareholders include COSCO Pacific (20 percent) the Suez Canal Authority (10.3 percent), and the National Bank of Egypt (5.0 percent).

SCCT said it is exploring further investments into dry port facilities and general and liquid bulk operations in order to meet the needs of Egypt’s growing population of 91 million, the third-largest in Africa (after Nigeria and Ethiopia).

The new access to East Port Said coincides with data from the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis that shows world trade did not expand in December 2015 following a 0.3 decrease the previous month.

The Bureau reported most regions were weak in the last month of 2015 with the exception of the U.S. and Central and Eastern Europe, where both import and export volume rose. It noted the largest monthly decline was Japanese export volume.

According to the preliminary data, world industrial production decreased 0.2 percent in December, following a 0.3 percent decline in November – largely concentrated in advanced economies that saw a 1.1. percent fall compared to a rise of 0.6 percent in emerging markets. The Bureau also noted U.S. production declined for a third consecutive month.

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