Egypt has undertaken a major expansion of the Suez Canal, which resulted in a deepening of the main waterway as well as a parallel 35km (22 mile) channel. This is the most advanced expansion of the canal since its opening in 1869. The undertaking cost $8 billion. The works involved 12 months of dredging using 45 dredgers, which has resulted in the removal of approximately 250 million cubic metres of soil. Previously a single lane, the canal can now facilitate traffic in two directions. This reduces waiting times from 11 hours to 3 hours and transit times from 18 hours to 11 hours.
The Egypt Naval Hydrographic Department (ENHD), through their ENC and paper chart program, has made advancement at a significant pace. As of August 6, 2015, through focused efforts and planning, ENHD has ensured that the release of new ENCs and paper charts covering the canal are aligned with the opening of the new 35km second channel within the Suez Canal. They were able to accomplish this by using current survey data, which was provided by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA).
In order to ensure the consistency between the ENCs and paper charts, ENHD utilized CARIS BASE Editor. In addition, twelve high quality ENC cells have been produced by the Cartographic Division using CARIS S-57 Composer as a first step prior to validation and distribution worldwide through RENC (IC-ENC).
ENHD, as INT chart producer of its own national waters, has produced two new charts, INT7156 (SC01), INT7159 (SC02) covering the Suez Canal and its vicinities. They also produced INT7144 (R11), which covers the southern waiting area near the Port of Suez. These were produced using CARIS Paper Chart Composer and derived from official ENCs of the same areas. These charts have been included in the regional INT scheme of the Northern Indian Ocean region as the first Egyptian INT charts covering the Suez Canal and its vicinities.