Greek authorities announced that the first phase of the re-operation of the Corinth Canal ended on Tuesday, and the Canal has closed again until next summer, as originally planned.
The second phase of restoration will resume following the catastrophic landslides that occurred in November 2020 as well as in January and February 2021.
The Corinth Canal Company said in an announcement that the canal operated without interruption and with safety throughout the summer and recorded its best performance in the last twenty years.
“This proves the importance of the Canal’s operation as well as its crucial role for maritime traffic, tourism growth and the upgrading of the area,” the company added.
Specifically, 6,001 vessels from seventy different countries navigated the canal from the day it reopened on July 4, 2022.
Corinth Canal undergoes restoration after catastrophic landslides
At a budget of thirty-two million euros, there were two stages to the restoration project. The first involved the slope relief work and the cleaning of the canal by July of this year while the second stage pertains to harbor work to stabilize the base of the slopes, which will begin now.
The closure of the Corinth Canal due to the landslides has been disastrous for transport and tourism in Greece.
The landslides were particularly destructive, as massive boulders from the side of the Peloponnese fell into the canal.
Opened on July 25, 1893, the Corinth Canal is one of the most important infrastructure projects of the modern Greek state, instantly changing all major maritime activity in the country.
Construction began in 1882, and the canal was inaugurated by then Prime Minister Sotirios Sotiropoulos. Yet, it was completed by his predecessor Charilaos Trikoupis, whose term had ended only two months prior to that date.
Before the canal was built, ships from the Ionian Sea headed to Athens or the Aegean islands had to go around the Peloponnese and vice versa.