Suez Canal revenues drop by a fifth

Rally in fees likely to be only temporary.
A vessel transits the Suez Canal, source of a significant proportion of Egypt's revenues.
A vessel transits the Suez Canal, source of a significant proportion of Egypt's revenues.

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The March figures from Egypt's Suez Canal Authority have revealed that revenues were down by 21% in comparison to the same period last year, a slight improvement on the February results.

The number of vessels using the waterway was 1439 in March, down from 1699 in March 2008 but up from 1272 in February.

With the government raising more than US$5 billion in fees from ships passing through the canal last year, the slowdown in the first quarter of this year is proving especially damaging to the Egyptian economy.

Analysts are watching Suez Canal revenues closely to see if there has been any fall-out from the piracy issues taking place in the Gulf of Aden. The March results coincide with a reduction in attacks, although it is likely that this may be more a result of unfavourable sea conditions than the effectiveness of the international coalition. April saw a significant increase in attacks, so we can expect to see results dip further in a month's time.

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