Finishing the jigsaw puzzle
The global operator APM Terminals is collaborating closely with the Egyptian government to put the last pieces of the jigsaw puzzle in place for the Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT). The measures will support the so-called ‘Vision 2030’ for the East Port Said Port and the SCCT.
On 5 May Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a former general and the current president of Egypt, opened the Ismaïlia tunnel, designed to ease the flow of goods to and from the Sinai Peninsula. The new connection is expected to significantly improve services between the Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT) and the major industrial zones in and around the capital Cairo. A second tunnel, linking up with Port Said, is also expected to be opened in mid-year.
Upping quality to garner trade
APM Terminals owns the majority stake in the SCCT, and it has CEO Lars Vang Christensen on site to run the facility. He told the media that in his opinion “this is the first time we’ve seen such top quality roads and tunnels in this part of the world. Together with the improved security situation in and around the port, these latest projects provide the highest international stan- dards. These measures have made the SCCT a prime hub for cargo consignments to and from Egypt.”
The developments are expected to be of great use to the Suez Canal Container Terminal, which already benefits today from its outstanding location on main trade lanes connecting Asia and Europe.
Well-placed on the Asia – Europe route
The SCCT is located at the northern entrance of the Suez Canal, making it an ideal transhipment hub for ships sailing from Southeast Asia to the Mediterranean and onwards to regions of Europe. Around 95% of the volumes handled in the facility are made up of goods in this segment.
Shipping lines that call at the SCCT also benefit from lower bunkering costs than they face at other terminals in the region. Port tariffs were also lowered in November 2018, but Christensen pointed out that he is currently conducting negotiations with the Egyptian government to secure further progress on this matter. He is pushing for another reduction in the tariffs, to increase the centre’s ability to compete in the region and to consequently up its throughput volume.
New jobs in various sectors
Egypt’s expanded ’Vision 2030’ also seeks to create new jobs and a balanced market economy. “The vision focuses on creating logistics infrastructure for IT companies, automobile manufacturers as well as other local producers,” Christensen added.
The SCCT could play an important role in these efforts. At full utilisation rates the terminal offers about 3,000 people direct or indirect employment, after all. At present its handling capacity amounts to approximately 5.4 million teu a year. With higher throughput the SCCT can also invest in more efficient cranes and equipment, which will enable it to handle larger containerships.