Suez Canal: Chinese, Iranian and Israeli ships decline, Americans increase

Suez Canal: Chinese, Iranian and Israeli ships decline, Americans increase

CAIRO: The Official data released by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has revealed a marked decrease in the number of Chinese, Iranian and Israeli ships that crossed the Suez Canal last year. According to the canal authority, it also showed an increase in the number of American Ships passing through the canal.

The official data released by the SCA said that the number of American ships increased by 19.5 percent this year, with 49 American vessels crossing the canal in December 2009, and 546 ships during the entire year.

The drops continued to pour in, the SCA reported. 32 Chinese vessels crossed during December, an increase of some 11 percent. However, only 164 ships crossed during 2009, marking a decrease of 18 percent compared to the previous year. Some 340 Italian ships crossed the canal throughout the year, which was a decrease of 21 percent.

While Iran exceeded Israel in the number of ships crossing the Suez Canal, where only 5 Israeli vessels passed, an increase of 400 percent, with tonnage amounting to 126,000 tons in December, only 26 Israeli vessels in total crossed during the year, a decrease of nearly 19 percent compared to 2008.

Some 8 Iranian ships crossed the canal during the last month of 2009, with 187,000 tons of cargo, while 109 vessels crossed during the whole year, a decline of 34 percent as compared to 2008.

97 British ships crossed, an increase of 20 percent for December and, in total, 1099 ships crossed the Suez Canal in 2009, down only 6 percent. 40 German Vessels crossed in December a decrease of half for the month and 689 total ships passed in 2009, a staggering decline of 30 percent overall.

For the types of ships that crossed the canal, 308 tankers with tonnage of 10.1 million tons, up 10.8 percent, while the total number of gas tankers reached 75, with a tonnage of 7.9 million, also up 155.3 percent; 512 container ships with a tonnage amounting to 35.4 million, which was a decline of 20 percent in total. The percentage of passenger ships and cruise ships did increase by half, as 8 ships crossed as the global economic crisis begins to fade.

But the number of warships decreased by 14.3 percent, as only 18 warships crossed in December.

**reporting by Mohamed Abdel Salam