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Suez Canal revenue falls 7.2%

Ismalia: The revenue of Egypt's Suez Canal in the 2008-2009 fiscal year which ended on June 30, decreased to US$4.74bn, down 7.2 percent from a record high of the previous fiscal year, the canal's governing body said Sunday.
The chairman of the Ismailia-based Suez Canal Authority Ahmed Ali Fadel warned that with both the recession and piracy in the region tough operating conditions continued.
Meanwhile, the number of ships passing through the waterway fell to 19,354 in the 2008-2009 fiscal year, down from 21,080 in the 2007-2008 fiscal year. Some 811.4 million tons of goods passed the canal in the period, down 8.9 percent from 890 million tons the previous year.
Its revenue dipped to US$302 million in February, registering a five-year low.
"We are now facing some hardships," Fadel said, referring to the Somali piracy activities, which, according to him, has become less rampant.
"The piracy issue has been magnified," Fadel stressed.
To alleviate the impact, the authority fixed the Suez Canal toll and kept it unchanged in 2009. The authority is also deepening the canal from 62 feet to 66 feet so that 64 percent of the world's oil tankers could pass the waterway by the end of this year.  [27/07/09]

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