Osama Rabie, the Chairperson of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), announced on Sunday that the navigation statistics of the canal in 2021 recorded new and unprecedented figures, achieving the highest annual revenue in the history of the canal — amounting to $6.3bn — and the largest annual net tonnages of 1.27 billion tonnes.
The SCA chairman explained that navigation in the canal in 2021 witnessed the transit of 20,694 ships in both directions, compared to 18,830 ships in 2020, recording an increase of 10%.
The total net tonnages also increased by 8.5%, reaching 1.27 billion tonnes, compared to the 1.17 billion tonnes recorded in 2020.
He added that the Suez Canal’s revenues in 2021 achieved a significant increase of 12.8% in dollars, recording $6.3bn, as opposed to 2020’s $5.6bn.
Rabie stressed that the indicators related to the volume of trade transiting the Suez Canal (represented in net tonnages) exceeded the rates of increase in the growth rates of global trade, despite the fact that the rate of increase in the volume of world trade freight transported by sea during the year 2021 amounted to 3.7%, according to Clarksons Shipping.
The rate of increase in the volume of world trade transiting through the canal was about 8.5%.
Moreover, the volume of container trade transiting the canal increased by 7.2% in 2021, while the rate of increase in the volume of container trade globally reached 6% during the same period.
Additionally, the increase in the volume of trade in bulk goods passing through the canal was 19.5% compared to 4.1%, which is the percentage of the global increase in the volume of casting goods during 2021.
Rabie pointed out that navigational reports in 2021 recorded a significant increase in the transit rates of various types of ships compared to 2020. The number of liquified natural gas carriers increased by 36.6% from 686 ships in 2020 to 937 ships in 2021.
Container ships transiting the canal increased by 10.1 %, bringing the total number to 5,186 container ships, compared to 4,710 ships in 2020.
The increase in the number of bulk ships also reached 15.3%, with 5,893 ships recorded in 2021, compared to 2020’s 5,113.
This increase is seen as a boom in the general indicators of transiting bulk ships. The highest rate recorded in the history of the canal achieved the highest revenue, which exceeded $1bn for the first time in the canal’s history.
The Suez Canal also acquired about 15.7% of the total global seaborne grain trade, with a total cargo volume of 83.5 million tonnes.
Rabie stressed that the indicators of performance rates during 2021 reflect the success of the flexible marketing and pricing policies pursued by the authority in gaining the confidence of the navigation community and flexibly dealing with the changes occurring in the maritime transport industry in light of the challenges of the pandemic.
This resulted in recording the highest rate of attracting ships — up to 4,920 ships — and achieving the largest revenue related to marketing policies since its implementation, amounting to $1.1bn of the canal’s total revenue in 2021.
Marketing efforts in general played a major role in increasing the number of ships crossing the canal for the first time and reaching an unprecedented record of more than 1,532 ships, generating $597.6m in revenues.
He explained that these unprecedented indicators come in parallel with achieving promising results in terms of several domains of the authority’s ambitious 2023 development strategy, which is spearheaded by developing the navigation course.
Furthermore, he noted that the total rates of dredging in the project to develop the southern sector of the canal amounted to 7.6 million cubic metres of saturated sand, where approximately 6.5 million cubic metres of saturated sand was removed. This took place within a project in the Small Bitter Lake spanning 122 to 132 km.
Approximately 1.1 million cubic metres of saturated sand were removed in the expansion and deepening of the canal from 132 to 162 km.
Rabie revealed that the Suez Canal intends to adopt new work mechanisms and controls in the new year to support the preservation of the environment that are in line with the directions of the International Maritime Organisation to reduce carbon emissions by adopting some new measures.
The measures include providing incentives for environmentally friendly ships and discussing ways to use renewable energy to declare the Suez Canal a ‘Green Canal’.