The Suez Canal Authority has announced accelerated plans to expand parts of the canal and improve ship navigation by 28 percent.

Ships pass through the canal in convoys, and the extension of the second lane would increase capacity by six ships, according to the Suez Canal Authority.
Ships pass through the canal in convoys, and the extension of the second lane would increase capacity by six ships, according to the Suez Canal Authority. (STR / AP)

A project to expand parts of the Suez Canal is expected to be completed after two years of work in July 2023.

The chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), Osama Rabie, announced accelerated plans on Sunday to extend a second channel of the canal and to enlarge an existing channel.

"The project will be completed in 24 months. We started in July 2021 and God willing we will finish in July 2023," Rabie said on the sidelines of an event in Dubai.

This comes after the Ever Given container ship ran aground and blocked the waterway for six days last year.

Earlier on Sunday, Rabie said the canal's revenues are expected to hit $7 billion in 2022 versus $6.3 billion in 2021, in an interview with Saudi-owned Asharq television.

READ MORE: Megaship Ever Green leaves Suez Canal 100 days after grounding

Improving ship navigation

Ships pass through the canal in convoys, and the extension of the second lane would increase capacity by six ships, Rabie said, without giving further details.

The southernmost 30 kilometres of the canal, where the Ever Given became grounded, is set to be widened 40 metres eastward and deepened to over 21 metres from around 20 metres, according to previously announced plans.

"This will improve ship navigation by 28 percent in this difficult part of the canal," Rabie said.

Asked about shipments of Iranian fuel or oil passing through the Suez Canal despite US sanctions on Iranian oil sales, he said: "There's no discrimination when it comes to a country flag on ships, and Iranian oil does pass through the canal."

Lebanese armed group Hezbollah imported Iranian fuel last year, a move it said was aimed at addressing shortages. Shipments were routed via Syria to avoid complications with sanctions.

READ MORE: Egypt's Suez Canal nets record $6.3 billion revenue last year

Source: Reuters