Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi signed an order on Thursday allowing ships to pass through the New Suez Canal.
The $8.5 billion project involved the dredging of an adjacent waterway that now allows vessels to pass each other through most of the canal, cutting transit times (18 hours to 11 hours for southbound traffic) and theoretically allowing more ships through the canal.
The expansion was opened during a huge inauguration ceremony put on by al-Sisi on Thursday in Ismailia, Egypt. The New Suez Canal is being considered the centerpiece of al-Sisi’s plans to revitalize the country’s economy after years of political turmoil.
See Also: Six Quick Facts About the New Suez Canal
The photos below are from Maersk Line, one of the biggest users of the canal with 1,400 transits per year. Check them out on Maersk Line Social.
Here’s a quick video showing how big of spectacle today’s celebrations were: