By Aysu Bicer
ANKARA (AA) - A mega-project to build a canal through Istanbul, Turkey, will provide safe passage to 185 ships daily, compared to 118-125 ships through Bosphorus Strait, Turkey's transport minister said on Monday.
"An estimated total of $1 billion per year will be collected from ships passing through Canal Istanbul," Cahit Turhan told Anadolu Agency.
Turkey's goal is to create a new waterway with a capacity to be thrice that of the Bosphorus Strait, he noted.
He added that the Bosphorus was one of the most risky crossing points for maritime traffic, with increasing commercial transportation threatening the lives of people living around it.
"There is a 53% increase in the amount of cargo carried by ships passing through the Bosphorus," he noted, adding that it was the amount of cargo and dangerous goods shipped through the narrow strait that was most alarming.
The planned 45-kilometer (nearly 28-mile) canal to be built west of the city center on the European side of the Istanbul province, aims to boost the city's marine through-traffic capacity.
The mega-project, which aims to prevent risks posed by vessels carrying dangerous shipments through the Bosphorus Strait, was approved by the country's Environment and Urbanization Ministry.