Since the Suez Canal was nationalised in 1956, there has been a marked increase in the volume of traffic using it, and in receipts from Canal fees.
Since the Suez Canal was nationalised in 1956, there has been a marked increase in the volume of traffic using it, and in receipts from Canal fees. Early doubts about the ability of the Nasser regime to operate the Canal economically appear to be a thing of the past, and the waterway is second only to the cotton industry in earning foreign currency for the United Arab Republic.
With the completion this year of a modified 8-year improvement plan, widening and deepening operations continue in the southern section near Ismailia, headquarters of the Canal Authority. Work is now starting on a 10-year improvement scheme, known as the Nasser Project, which will give the Canal two main "one-way" channels.
Aim of the work now in progress is that the Canal will be able to take bigger ships - vessels of 37-ft. draught compared with the present upper limit of 35-ft. New maximum tonnage will be 45,000 tons.
The U.A.R. has built up one of the world's biggest fleets of dredgers, the Canal Authority owns nine and five area on hire from U.S., Dutch and Belgian companies. The World Bank recently approved a substantial loan for President Nasser's improvement plans.