By Mohamed Ahmed
Suez Canal Authority revealed data on traffic through its waters in September 2015, which showed a revenue decline to $448.8m, versus $469.8m in the same month last year, a 4.5% decrease.
The number of ships transiting the canal rose to 1,515 vessels, compared to 1,458 vessels, with an increase of 3.9% in the comparison period but saw an increase in payloads by 3.4% to 86,619 tons compared to 83,754 tons.
This raises the question of how the revenues declined in a time when the loads increase, which is the major determinant in fees collection. It depends on the main currency used in the collection of transit fees, which are internationally defined with an arithmetic unit called Special Drawing Rights and SDR. Those currencies fell against the dollar in September 2015 to reach $1.4063 units versus $1.5005 units during the same time of last year.
SDR’s four major currencies are the euro, the Japanese yen, the Sterling pound, and the US dollar. Their values are calculated everyday by the World Bank.
The Suez Canal uses SDR as an international basket of currencies to avoid any impacts of fluctuation of international currencies on revenue.
The Suez Canal Authority expected revenues to increase steadily following the opening of the new channel in August, its target revenue to be $13bn by 2023.
The new canal contributes to the achievement of semi-coupling navigation, where ships spend less time waiting, decreasing from an average of 11 hours to only 3 hours.