Egypt’s president has launched the digging of a new canal in the country which will will run in parallel to the Suez Canal.
The military-run project is seen as a major step by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to stimulate his country’s struggling economy.
He has been compared to army strongman President Gamal Abdel Nasser who nationalised the first Suez Canal.
The construction will cost 6.2 billion euros and is scheduled to take three years; Al-Sisi has ordered it to be completed in one.
The original 145 year-old historic Suez Canal is still the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia.
The Canal today earns Egypt about 3.7 billion euros a year and is a vital source of hard currency for a country that has suffered a slump in tourism and foreign investment since the 2011 uprising.
The project will reduce maximum waiting hours for ships to three hours from 11 and allow for 49 vessels to cross at the same time compared with 49 per day as now.