CAIRO, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Egypt announced on Tuesday it will launch a project to dig a new 72-km canal alongside the original Suez Canal, Head of the Suez Canal Authority Mohab Mamish said during the opening ceremony of the Suez Canal Corridor project.
He said the new project aims to create "a new Suez Canal parallel to the current channel," Mohab Mamish told a televised conference attended by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Ismailia province.
The new project will be implemented in one year from now, and is expected to provide more than one million job opportunities, said Mamish.
He also noted that, instead entrusting the project to foreign investment, Egypt intends to allow the country's own companies to build the giant waterway.
Preliminary estimates show that the project is going to cost Egypt a total of four billion U.S. dollars. The tunnels, once completed, will reduce passing ships' waiting time from 11 hours to as short as three, and will accordingly increase the number of current containers in the course up to 97 in 2023 from the current 23.
Mamish also said that Cairo has yet to consult any foreign country over the new canal, adding that the armed forces along with the other related departments have managed to clean all land mines in the future construction sites that were planted in the 1973 Egyptian-Israeli war.
Opened in 1869, the current 164 km-long Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt. It connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, with its northern terminus at Port Said and the southern terminus Port Tawfiq at the city of Suez. More than 100,000 Egyptians lost their lives to build the Suez Canal.