Next month, Denmark's Maersk – the world's largest container shipping company – will change its traditional maritime route from Asia to the east coast of the United States from the Panama Canal to Egypt's Suez Canal, the Bloomberg news agency reported on Monday citing Maersk CEO Soeren Skou.
The company's final trip through the Panama Canal will take place on 7 April, one week after which it will begin transporting cargo via the Suez Canal, Maersk officials told Bloomberg.
Although the new route is roughly 5 percent longer in terms of distance, Maersk believes that Egypt's strategic waterway will be less costly – and will be able to accommodate larger vessels – than its Panamanian counterpart.
The move is expected to significantly boost traffic through the Suez Canal, which has fallen in recent years due to the ongoing global economic downturn.
The number of vessels transiting the canal fell from 21,415 in 2008 to 17,799 in 2011. In January of this year, only 1311 vessels used the canal, compared to 1559 in January 2012, representing a year-on-year decrease of almost 13 percent.
Maersk's total shipping fleet includes more than 600 vessels.