The Suez Canal Authority has announced the names of 14 consortia that have qualified to draw up master plans to develop an industrial and logistics hub for the canal. Each group was to include one or more foreign and one or more Egyptian consultant.
The Suez Canal Regional Development Project “is deemed as the first integrated and organized approach to utilize the economic potentials of this unique location,” the canal authority said on its website. “As the world trade is increasingly growing and developing, and as there is always a need for proximity of demand markets and quick response of supply markets, it is quite natural that Egypt desires to maximize benefit and take advantage of this great value. To this end, the government of Egypt is resolving to build on these opportunities presented by the Suez Canal’s history and work on transforming it into an international economic hub, which shall contribute to long-term development.”
Objectives of the project are given as:
- Creating job opportunities and generating investment
- Creating an area for international maritime services, logistics, and industrial and urban development
- Increasing exportation and promoting world trade
- Diversifying and expanding the existing businesses and activities in the area
- Ensuring long-term economic growth by integrating the existing activities and attracting foreign investment
- Using the available opportunities to find out best practices in the field of sustainable development
- Increasing the volume of cargo transported via the Suez Canal and maximizing the Canal’s revenues
- Maximizing the role of multimodal transportation
- Filling the Sinai’s vacuum and developing this part of Egypt
- Upgrading the efficiency of Egyptian labor to the international advanced labor standards
Daily News Egypt, an English language publication, said the 14 joint ventures were selected from 25 that submitted information. It said the winner will receive the final contract in October, and will have nine months to submit an initial plan for the project, citing a statement by the project’s technical secretariat chairman, Walid Abd Al-Ghaffar.
The Suez Canal’s plan seems similar to the plan of the Panama Canal Authority, which wants to offer additional services to shippers and carriers moving goods through its waterway.