DP World, the world’s fourth-biggest ports operator, signed a preliminary agreement with Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority and the Egyptian government to jointly develop a new inland container depot near Cairo as part of efforts to spur the North African country’s economic growth.
“Developing trade infrastructure to improve hinterland access for goods bound for Africa’s growing economic needs is essential,” said DP World group chairman and chief executive, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem.
The Egyptian government is working to promote sustainable economic development for the country through a structural reform programme, funded in part through a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), awarded in 2016 when Egypt was grappling with a period of slow growth.
The US-based lender projects stronger GDP growth for Egypt over the next two years in the context of the IMF-funded reforms, at 5.2 per cent in 2018 and 5.5 per cent in 2019.
Under this week’s agreement, DP World, Egypt’s Holding Company for Maritime and Land Transport, and the Suez Canal Authority aim to develop the new container depot in Egypt’s 6th of October City, a satellite town in the Giza Governorate, part of the urban area of Cairo.
The three partners, led by DP World, will bid for the government contract for the project later this year, the ports operator said on Monday.
The proposed depot is intended to “increase the flow of cargo between ships and major land transportation networks in the country, creating a central distribution point”.
The project – the result of a previous cooperation agreement between the three companies – will serve trade in Egypt by linking inland and marine ports, said Mohamed Ahmad Ibrahim Youssef, chairman of the Company of Maritime and Land Transport.
“This partnership is aligned with Egypt’s strategy for sustainable development and the [government ministries’] policy to increase activities and investments of its companies in projects that raise developmental levels, create jobs for Egyptian youth and increase the profits of Egyptian companies to fuel local GDP,” the chairman said.
UAE-based DP World already has a presence in Egypt – it has been operating the Sokhna Port for the past decade.
Last year it signed a partnership agreement with the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) to form a joint venture company to develop a special economic free zone in Ain Sokhna. Under the agreement, SCZone is to hold 51 per cent of shares in the new vehicle and DP World the remaining 49 per cent.