(Bloomberg) -- Egypt is carrying out a feasibility study on further expanding the Suez Canal in a push to speed up transit times and avert potential blockages in a waterway that carries 12% of global maritime trade.

The project is meant to turn single-lane segments — 50 kilometers in the northern segment and 30 kilometers in its southern part — into double lane crossings, Suez Canal Authority chief Osama Rabie said at an event on Sunday. 

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The proposals build on plans first aired in 2021 after the grounding of the giant Ever Given vessel that largely shuttered part of the vital route for nearly a week. Nearly a decade ago, Egypt completed an $8 billion expansion of the canal aimed at slashing waiting times and drawing in more ships. 

Initial studies were concluded and submitted to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who will receive the final proposal when it’s ready for approval, Rabie said. It was unclear how much the expansion could cost, and he didn’t make clear a potential timeline for the project’s completion.

Two companies — ACE Moharram-Bakhoum and Dar Al-Handasah — are currently conducting a feasibility study for the project and considering possible partners. The expansion will make “transiting the Suez Canal 100% safe,” Rabie said.

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Revenue from the canal — vital funding for Egypt — has been hit hard since Yemen’s Houthi militants began targeting ships on the Red Sea in retaliation for Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  

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