I came up through Suez last year, yes you have to pay bribes to get through and it varies from boat
and pilot to pilot on what is asked or expected.
The general rule
is that they all want something and you have to offer both cash and/or small items to get the wheels oiled. It does not have to be a lot, the actual canal fees
are the main burden. I think we paid our pilot about $30 plus quite a few small items, plus a few other tips here and there. I know others who paid both more and less. Whatever you give, they will probably ask for more!
The main rule
is this, they will press you for what they think they can get. Be firm and don't be afraid to offer small amounts.
We have sailed around the world and the Suez canal and Egypt
were the most demanding of anywhere we have been for bribes and general hassle.