The Egyptian government has opened a bidding process to design, finance, build, equip, operate, maintain and utilise a new dry port, which is expected to handle a large portion of Alexandria’s import containers.
The facility, which is located 20 km southwest of 6th of October city just outside Cairo, will have a direct rail connection to the Greater Port of Alexandria (GPA) and the Port of El Dekheila.
Interested companies or consortia can submit pre-qualification applications to compete to enter into a 30-year public-private partnership (PPP) contract with the Egyptian government.
Construction is expected to begin in late 2018 after a winning bidder has been chosen and will last approximately two years.
The government will be responsible for the rail connection and the site’s utilities while the investor will take care of everything within the site.
Initially, the dry port will have a capacity of 360 teu per day (130,000 teu per year) but this will eventually double as the existing rail infrastructure servicing the port is upgraded.
Project team leader Khalid Bichou told CM that studies indicated the GPA’s throughput could double or even triple from 1.2m teu per annum in the next 20-30 years, heightening the need for solutions to bottlenecks.
“The port [of Alexandria] suffers from the classic symptoms of all the old ports,” he noted. “It’s in a major city. The port will expand at waterside – berths, quaylines and so on – but there is no space to stack containers, inspect them and process them.
“Hence the idea of a dry port – to relieve land congestion from the sea ports. Containers won’t need to be inspected or stacked. They can go straight from a railway connection to a final destination.”
All customs processes as well as health checks and security checks could be done in the dry port, he pointed out.
The project is the first and largest of ten separate dry port projects, earmarked by the Egyptian government.
Currently, 99% of freight cargo in the country is moved by road although the intention is to increase rail’s share from 1% to 10% over the next ten years.
“This has a lot of impact on road infrastructure, congestion, accidents and the cost of transporting,” added Bichou. “The truck is more expensive than rail – it will take a container and come back empty – so they will charge you for two journeys.”