July 22 - Later this week, trial operations will commence on the new Suez Canal expansion project, prior to the official inauguration of the new channel on August 6.

Ships of unspecified different sizes will transit the new channel, which is 72 km in length, during the trials.

The Suez Canal Authority expects its annual revenue to jump from USD5.3 billion in 2015 to USD13.2 billion in 2023, as a result of the expansion, which will allow convoys to head in both directions of the waterway for the first time.

According to the Suez Canal Authority, workers have finished dredging 250 million sq m of earth for the new route, as well as digging 70 million sq m for the expansion of the Ballah Bypass located on the western edge of the canal.

The expansion will increase the daily average of transiting vessels to 97 ships, up from 49 ships at present and also allow direct continuous transit for 45 ships in both directions.