Revenue from the Suez Canal fell sharply in the last quarter of 2008 due to a combination of piracy in the waters off Somalia and the global economic downturn. Income from the international waterway linking the Mediterranean with the Indian Ocean fell from $467.5 million in October to $391.8 million in December, a decrease of 16.2 per cent. The fall inverted an earlier positive trend linked to a rise of up to 14 per cent in shipping transit fees in the canal in April 2008.

Income from the Suez Canal is traditionally linked to Asian exports to Europe, which have fallen dramatically in recent months as orders of goods from China, South Korea, Thailand and Japan have declined. In addition cheaper oil has meant that many companies are now re-routing ships around South Africa