Suez canal revenues fall by 9.6% in May due to coronavirus - chairman

The canal is the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia

  
Container ship RDO Concord sails through the Suez Canal as Egypt celebrates the 150th anniversary of the canal opening in Ismailia, Egypt November 17, 2019.

Container ship RDO Concord sails through the Suez Canal as Egypt celebrates the 150th anniversary of the canal opening in Ismailia, Egypt November 17, 2019.

Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

CAIRO - Egypt's Suez Canal revenues fell by 9.6% in May compared with the same month last year due to the impact of the coronavirus on global trade movement, Osama Rabie, chairman of the canal authority said on Wednesday.

The number of ships that crossed the canal in May are almost the same as in May 2019 but the payloads decreased, Rabie told Egyptian state TV.

He declined to disclose total revenues for the first five months of 2020, but said: "We almost achieved the same like last year, either for revenues, payloads or number of ships".

Last month, he said that the canal's revenues rose to $1.907 billion in the first four months of 2020 from $1.869 billion in the same period the prior year.

"I am optimistic that in the second half, with the movement of global trade ... we will achieve the same revenues and the same income of last year," he said on Wednesday.

The canal is the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia and one of the Egyptian government's main sources of foreign currency.

(Reporting by Omar Fahmy, Writing by Mahmoud Mourad; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise) ((mahmoud.mourad@thomsonreuters.com;))

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