Egypt's Suez Canal Authority earned 5.22 billion dollars in revenues 2011, almost half a billion dollars more than the revenues of 2010, its chairman Ahmad Fadel said on Sunday.
Revenues for 2011 increased by 456 million dollars compared with the previous year, climbing almost 4.8 percent year-on-year in December, Egypt's official news agency MENA quoted Fadel as saying.
Data showed revenues from the vital waterway climbed to $443.7 million in December from $423.4 million in the same month in 2010. Revenue was up almost 1.9 percent from November to December 2011.
The rise came despite a 1.1 percent drop in the number of ships that passed through the canal to 17,799 vessels in 2011 compared with the previous year, Fadel said, without providing a reason.
The agency added that starting March 2012, the canal's authority would lift tolls by 3 percent for all vessels passing through the waterway.
Along with tourism and remittances from workers abroad, the canal is one of Egypt's key revenue earners.