Egypt unrest not affecting Suez Canal, ports
Shipping officials in Egypt said over the weekend that maritime transportation and port operations through the Suez Canal and the country's ports have been unaffected by unrest there.
Bloomberg reported that 38 ships transited the canal, which is wholly owned by Egypt, on Sunday, while the head of the Red Sea Ports Authority told Reuters that 10 ports on the water body leading into the canal had been operating as usual.
Aside from the canal being a vital cargo thoroughfare for goods transiting from Asia to Europe, North America and Western Africa, Egypt's Red Sea and Mediterranean ports are growing in regional significance.
Violent protests in the past week against the government and longtime president Hosni Mubarak have led to nighttime curfews that have been largely ignored. The protests have shaken Middle East markets and have sent crude oil prices higher.
Meanwhile, the A.P. Moller – Maersk Group said Monday that situation in Egypt has impacted its commercial and operational activities, but that all employees are, accounted for.
“Today, there are no terminal operations in Egypt and Maersk Line, Safmarine and Damco offices are closed,” spokesman Mary Ann Kotlarich said in a statement.
She said the Suez Canal is open for traffic, and that Maersk Line and Safmarine have on average four or five daily Suez Canal transits.
All told, the Maersk Group has various activities in Egypt with about 7,000 employees. The activities include the Suez Canal Container Terminal at Port Said, the Egyptian Drilling Co. (a 50-50 joint-venture with the Egyptian General Petroleum Corp.) as well as the operations of Maersk and Damco.