Egypt is planning to build a new 72-kilometre waterway parallel to the Suez Canal, the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia, the chairman of the Suez Canal Authority said on Tuesday.
The $8 billion project "will turn Egypt into one of the world's largest industrial and commercial centres," Mohab Mamish said.
Mamish said the construction is expected to take three years, while Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has ordered the new passage to be completed in a year.
The project will double the waterway's capacity and reduce maximum waiting hours for ships from 11 to three hours.
The Suez Canal carrying about 10% of global seaborne trade, is a vital source of revenue for Egypt, which total some $5 billion every year. The 190-kilometre canal, which connects the Mediterranean and the Red Sea opened in 1869 and was nationalised by Egypt in 1956.