CAIRO: The global economic slowdown and piracy have combined to sharply bring down Suez Canal traffic, an official for the canal authority said on Wednesday.
The number of vessels and cargo ships using the Suez Canal has fallen considerably in December, whereas it was light in November, the official told AFP, on condition of anonymity.
He said 46 vessels used the canal on Wednesday, whereas the average daily passage for October was 62 ships.
For the month of December, the volume of traffic is expected to have fallen by at least seven percent compared to the same month last year.
We put this fall down to the global financial crisis and the slowdown in world trade as well as piracy [off Somalia] which has pushed many shipping lines to avoid the canal, the official said.
He said the slowdown in Suez traffic was expected to extend into 2009, after a month whose revenues of an estimated $419.8 million will be the lowest monthly total since April.
The Suez Canal is Egypt s third-largest source of revenue after tourism and remittances from expatriate workers. -AFP