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Transit tolls steady for 2010, says Suez Canal

By Reuters

The Suez Canal Authority has confirmed that transit tolls would remain steady in 2010, the second straight year fees were not changed for the strategic waterway that is a barometer for international trade. Canal sources had said in December the tolls for the canal, one of Egypt's main foreign currency earners, would stay on hold due to the fallout from the global financial crisis.

The global shipping industry, also hit by tight financing, is gearing up for a second straight year of turmoil in 2010. "To support global trade movement and [help] shipping companies overcome this [financial crisis], we have decided to keep the tolls steady," Chairman Ahmed Fadel told a news conference in Ismailia, on the banks of the canal.

He said canal revenues in 2009 were $4.291 billion (Dh15.76bn), some 20 per cent lower than $5.381bn in 2008.

The number of vessels passing through the canal in 2009 was 17,228, also about 20 percent down on the 2008 figure of 21,415.

"The global crisis is imposing difficult challenges. It

is slowing recovery as growth in trade has not reached the level indicating a true revival for the global economy," he said.

Revenue from the canal fell 0.5 per cent to $390m in December, the smallest year-on-year fall since November 2008.


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