(MENAFN - Trend News Agency) The construction of a huge canal on the edge of Istanbul is set to begin in the very near future, Turkey's Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu announced, Trend reports citing Daily Sabah .
'Kanal Istanbul will serve as an international waterway that will complement Turkey's logistics power and infrastructure by performing an important function in global maritime trade,' Karaismailoğlu told a meeting in the capital Ankara.
'It is now a very short time before the construction of the Kanal Istanbul begins,' the minister said.
As the country moves forward with the project, Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum on Saturday said development plans for the canal had been approved.
The canal will connect the Black Sea north of Istanbul to the Marmara Sea to the south, designed as an alternative global shipping lane, and estimated to cost around TL 75 billion ($9.2 billion).
The government says it will ease shipping traffic on the Bosporus Strait, one of the world's busiest maritime passages, and prevent accidents similar to that of last week on Egypt's Suez Canal, where a giant container ship became lodged and blocked the channel for almost a week.
The blockage threw global supply chains into disarray, threatening costly delays for firms already wrestling with COVID-19 restrictions, and nearly doubled rates for oil product tankers.
Karaismailoğlu said the accident prompted a major crisis in global trade, noting that the blockage caused a daily loss of around $9.6 billion.
Kanal Istanbul is one of Turkey's most strategic megaprojects, meant to stem the rising risk posed by ships carrying dangerous goods via the Bosporus.
The 45-kilometer (27.96-mile) canal, which will be built in Istanbul's Küçükçekmece-Sazlıdere-Durusu corridor, will boast a capacity of 160 vessels a day.
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