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New Suez Canal: Facts and Figures

From how many police officers will be manning Sinai during the festivities, to who'll be feeding all the VIP guests, here's what you need to know.

The opening for the 72KM long second Suez Canal is scheduled for the 6th of August, 2015.

The project, extending the canal to start receiving 97 boats a day instead of the usual 49, cost around $8 billion (equivalent to 30 billion EGP). Cutting the three-year building plan short, president Abdel-Fattah El Sisi ordered for it to be complete by 2015, and has met the target. The money was funded by the government through the people, collecting investment certificates that helped make the dream-campaign become reality.

The new axis allows two-way traffic and reduces transit time to 11 hours from 18, according to the canal operator.

The canal drew in in a record $5.3 billion last year, a figure the government estimates it can raise to $13 billion by 2023.

Six international firms, including companies from US, Netherlands and Belgium were assigned to dig the new sections of the canal and work on existing waterways to help fasten the flow of work. 

The ceremony - rumoured to be produced by Oscar winner Danny Boyle - will have several componentsas a way of greeting and flaunting the national pride of Egyptians, as well as three French Rafale fighter jets, set to fly overhead during the celebrations. 

There will be three types of tents around the area for the guests: 'King tents' for presidents, princes, kings and leaders, 'VIP tents' for business men and government officials and 30 tents for the families of national martyrs. Tents for media correspondents, newspaper editors-in-chiefs and journalists will also be available.

The whole inauguration will be catered by the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza. Who else could cater to world leaders, royalty and VIPs. They'll be feeding up to 6000 guests, thanks to 500 of their staff heading there. They'll be serving 800KG of meat, and taking 3 tonnes of ice and have created 960 place mats, specially embroidered with the event logo.

Replicating the grandeur of the original Suez Canal inauguration in 1869, Verdi's Opera Aida will be put on by legendary composer Omar Khairat.

There will also be places available for Egyptian citizens who won an attendance ticket in a so called 'lottery' organised by the government to show gratitude for the average Egyptian.

Authorities estimate 1 million new jobs will be created by this new project over the next 15 years.

10,000 policemen will stand guard across six provinces as Sisi opens the ceremony.

 


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