Egypt is preparing to open a major expansion of one of the world's greatest man-made sea routes - the Suez Canal.
A new canal 35 kilometres long has been dug parallel to the existing waterway, allowing two-way traffic on the canal for the first time, while the original canal has been deepened.
It took a year to build, and has cost $US8.5 billion, financed by state-issued bonds bought by Egyptian members of the public.
The waterway is being touted as an achievement rivalling the digging of the original.
The government have been promoting it as the "rebirth of Egypt" and hopes that it will double the waterway's shipping capacity, encouraging more global trade.
The link opened in 1869 and joins the Mediterranean with the Red Sea.
At just over 190 kilometres in legnth, it remains the fastest route between Asia and Europe and accounts for 8 percent of the world's sea trade.
The expansion will be formally opened at a ceremony later today.