Annual revenue from Egypt’s Suez Canal, which allows shipping to pass between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, has dropped by 7.2 per cent to $4.72 billion.
Ahmed Ali Fadel, the Suez Canal Authority chief, said on Sunday that the fall was largely due to the financial crisis, while “slight” concerns about piracy off the Horn of Africa played a lesser role.
“The global economic crisis which began in September had a strong impact on our operations,” he told Al Jazeera.
“It came just after the Suez Canal had recorded its largest ever revenues in August 2008, with $504 million earned that month.
Fadel said 19,354 ships passed through the waterway in 2008/09, compared with 21,080 in 2007/08, showing an 8.2 per cent decline.
The government has said shrinking canal revenues, one of Egypt’s main foreign currency earners, were one of the main factors that caused Egypt’s economy to grow by just 4.7 per cent this year – compared to growth of seven per cent over the past three years.