Revenues from Egypt’s Suez Canal have risen 9.7 percent this year to $4.17 billion, said the canal’s chief Thursday. Adm. Ahmed Aly Fadel, chairman of the Suez Canal authority, released the results at a press conference marking the 51st anniversary of the nationalization of the waterway by the late Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser.
The government-run canal is one of Egypt’s main foreign currency earners. Revenues for the previous fiscal year, ending July 30, 2006, were $3.8 billion.
The 120-mile waterway connects the Mediterranean and Red seas and saves ships the longer, costlier route around South Africa. Fadel said 78 ships passed through the canal on Thursday alone.
Fadel praised Nasser for nationalizing the canal, describing it as “an unexpected surprise for the French company … and for the whole world.”
On July 26, 1956, Nasser nationalized the majority French-owned company that ran the canal, replacing it with one owned by the Egyptian state.
Nasser’s move was widely considered as a blow to the old colonial powers of Britain and France, which built the canal using Egyptian peasants.
The nationalization sparked a war with Britain, France and Israel.