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Suez Canal Authority Reports Record $6.3B in Revenues in 2021

record revenues and transits of Suez Canal
Suez Canal Authorty achieved record results in 2021 (SCA)

Published Jan 3, 2022 6:12 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Suez Canal Authority reported record results for the number of transits of ships and revenues in 2021 saying that the operations were exceeding the overall growth rate for the shipping industry. Citing the success of its marketing and flexible approach to working with the industry, the SCA said it had achieved its best year in history while also preparing for a strong future.

“The Suez Canal achieved the high annual revenue in its history of $6.3 billion, and the largest annual net tonnage of 1.27 billion during 2021,” said Lieutenant-General Osama Rabie, head of the Suez Canal Authority. The head of the authority stressed that the indicators related to the volume of trade exceeded the rates of increase in global trade.

Revenues for the full year were up 12.8 percent despite the interruption to the canal’s operations and costs associated with the grounding of the Ever Given in the spring of 2021. He attributed an increase of $1.1 billion due to the canal’s marketing efforts and working with shipping companies during the pandemic. For example, he cited lowering fees by 15 percent for passenger ships and efforts to help the shipping companies to return crews that had become stranded during the pandemic. A total of 1,532 vessels transited the canal for the first time generating nearly $600 million in new revenues.

The number of ships transiting the canal showed a strong increase reaching 20,694 for the full year, which was an increase of 10 percent versus 2020. Net tonnage also increased by 8.5 percent to 1.27 billion tons in 2021. By comparison, they cited data saying that world trade had grown by less than four percent in 2021.

The SCA pointed to strong growth from all the major categories of shipping led by LNG carriers. In percentage increase, LNG carriers were up by more than a third to 937 ships transiting the canal, but containerships remained the largest overall category. A total of 5,186 containership transits were completed in 2021, which was up by 10 percent versus the prior year. Bulk carrier transits were also strong with revenues from the category exceeding one billion dollars for the first time and representing nearly 16 percent of the total global seaborne gain trade.

For the year ahead, the SCA nonetheless plans to increase transit fees on average by six percent in 2022. This will apply to most of the major categories of ships, except LNG carriers. The SCA also plans to take steps to encourage green shipping in 2022. The head of the authority said they will reveal plans to study providing incentives for environmentally-friendly ships as well as looking to use renewable energy in their operations. 

Lieutenant-General Rabie also affirmed the authority’s continued efforts to maintain the pace of development and modernization. He highlighted the efforts at the southern sector of the navigation channel, which aims to double the area, in addition to expanding and deepening the southern area of the Suez Canal. Plans call for widening and deepening nearly 20 miles of the canal which he said will increase navigational safety by 28 percent.