Suez develops industrial area to attract investment

A Korean container ship sails through the Suez Canal city of Port Said. [Khaled Desouki/AFP]

A Korean container ship sails through the Suez Canal city of Port Said. [Khaled Desouki/AFP]

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Egypt's Suez governorate is witnessing brisk economic and investment activity, the most recent of which was the announcement of a project to develop an industrial area to attract investments.

The Egyptian government signed a contract with China's Egypt TEDA Corporation in late April to develop this area -- which will span six square kilometres -- in the northwest Gulf of Suez economic zone.

The agreement is part of a plan to develop the zone as a whole, as well as transform the Suez Canal corridor into a major economic zone and increase its revenue.

Following the signing of the contract, Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil described the project as "part of the Egyptian dream to transform the Suez Canal from a waterway that brings in $5.5 billion to an economic zone that raises $100 billion in revenue annually".

By opening the door to investment, the government will transform the region into an integrated tourist, residential and economic zone, said Fareed al-Aam of the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development.

Job opportunities created by new projects in Suez can help stem the local population's migration to Cairo and other major cities in search of livelihoods, he said.

All specialisations will be in demand, he added, in fields from technology to pharmaceutical industries, car assembly, plastics and oil equipment manufacturing.

Boosting the northwest economic zone

Anticipated international investments will be concentrated in an area in the northwest Gulf of Suez economic zone, according to Radhwan Gameel, an economic advisor at the Ministry of Investment's vital studies committee.

"According to studies, planned factories are expected to employ 40,000 Egyptian workers over the next three years," Gameel said.

The general trend is to employ workers from the region, "which represents a radical solution to the issue of widespread unemployment among the youth of the Suez region", he said.

The new industrial area will include thousands of small- and medium-sized enterprises, he said.

To Fares al-Bahnasi, a trader and general manager of al-Bahansi import and export company, the advantages enjoyed by investors in the region are "very attractive".

"New investors will enjoy the advantages brought about by the international agreements, as well as a tax rate that will not exceed 10% and customs and sales tax exemptions of up to 100%," he said.

The largest of the planned projects is the Technology Valley project to be built in Port Said in co-operation with international experts, al-Bahnasi said.

Egypt "is lagging significantly in modern technology industries", he said, and the project will help the region achieve success in this arena.

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    ماجد المحمدى

    2013-5-26

    I wonder what could be the reason for suspending work in the industrial city located along the Suez Canal. I think – though I’m not sure - that all of these concepts and dreams will indeed be realized and implemented in the Suez Canal region in general, but it could be possible that President Mursy is waiting until the People Council (upper house of the parliament) elections are held. He could also be pending for the nature of the upcoming cabinet, which he surely wants to be formed by the Freedom and Justice Party. He fears that if he starts off these projects now, the elections will bring about a new parliament that will in turn produce a cabinet in which the majority is held by the winning party, whether it is the Salvation Front or the Salafis. In that case, the credit for everything that he is thinking about now and all of his goals will go to the upcoming cabinet and not the Muslim Brotherhood. Therefore, this political mentality could be very likely the reason behind the delay of realizing these dreams. Regardless of anything, these people want the public to feel their efforts and they don’t care at all about letting other people make such accomplishments. As a result, when they run in any up and coming presidential elections, they will be the favorite choice of people. In any case, let us go with the Muslim Brotherhood till the end.

  • نافع عمر

    2013-5-25

    The canal project is really a mere dream, exactly like Hesham Qandil said. We hope that the best will come out. This project will not be implemented simply because Egypt has no liquidity that would allow the creation of an industrial city at this juncture. Hence, this industrial city will remain a dream that is only mentioned by Mursy and his group. It will end up exactly the same as the so-called revival project. I’m not really a pessimistic person, but I’m a practical person and I like to see things from a practical point of view. If there was enough liquidity, this project could have been implemented. However, if Qatar will be the one who will secure the necessary liquidity, the people will not approve of such matter, and that will prove counterproductive to Egypt. Hence, the President and his team must please the Egyptian people and must let them understand what is going on at the time being. They should also engage them in the so-called dream that they are talking about. If they let people know that they will benefit such and such from the host of projects that we heard will be established on the western bank of the Suez Canal, in addition to the tech valley that they want to establish in Port Saied, everyone will be agreeable. However, people are hearing nothing but a bunch of numbers like the ones seen only in stock exchange markets while they can’t even make ends meet. Therefore, people will not remain silent and you must engage them and let them be part of this dream.

  • طلال ما هر

    2013-5-25

    How could the Egyptian people benefit from the industrial city in the Suez Canal? In fact, I could not see any benefit for Egyptians from this huge investment. Unfortunately, the Egyptian people have never benefited from the riches of their country. They are always deceived by investors and the authorities. For this reason, we do not expect any benefit for ordinary people from this city. The economic situation is really deplorable. The increase in investment will not improve the living conditions of people. The only beneficiary will be the Government officials and the President as usual. The latter will give the same arguments and the same details. Eventually, Egypt will keep indebted.

  • محمود عبد القادر

    2013-5-22

    Why is there a war against the Suez Canal Development project? Why every time we make a step forward, they make us go 24 steps backward. Listen Sirs to the project of the development of the Suez Canal and why is Dahy Khalfan fighting us? Because Dubai has got the biggest store and warehouse for containers in the Middle East. Of course Dubai is the only emirate in the UAE that doesn’t have oil, and all their dependency is on storing and containers. Furthermore, the Suez Canal is closer. If this project gets executed, it will be closer for ships and conveyors to empty their containers, get their service, and take their needs from Suez. Thus, they won’t pass by Dubai, and the Suez Canal will be the first ranked in the world. Dubai used to earn 50 billion dollars annually, and now the ships coming from Europe and the US to the gulf or East- Southern Asia are used to get their service enhancement in 3 places: Dubai, Singapore and Malaysia, and usually these ships stay 3 days in the harbors and pay daily rent in addition to the service enhancement fees.

  • محمود ذو الفقار

    2013-5-22

    We want the Presidency and the Government to reassure the people that the laws related to the project of the development of the Suez Canal will guarantee Egyptian rights without any infiltration from those people without a conscience who want to manipulate the fate of the nation. As we saw, many Egyptian project owners seek the help of what they call International arbitration, and usually we’re the losers. We do no doubt the President or the government, but the people need to be reassured. The Egyptian people have grown and they became aware of their rights, and the capabilities of the country. Thus, transparency of information is the best way to involve the people in protecting the country, its capabilities, and resources.

  • امينة شلباية

    2013-5-22

    I would like to ask President Morsi a question: why didn’t he activate the Japanese project, the one they came to establish a few years ago (with their loan), in order to establish an investment area in the Suez Canal, and the loan would have been repaid by the incomes of the project in 40 years. But, Mr. Alaa wanted a commission for himself in order to make his father agree, which made the Japanese get bored. Furthermore, the project would’ve had 100% Egyptian administration. However, the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi want the project by the administration of excluded laws and regulations with Qatari or maybe non-Qatari capital and probably with the participation of El-Shater with those new brokers… I wish that Al-Fagr newspaper would re-design its cover of Mubarak while he was carrying bags of money and dollars, but with other faces.

  • معوض إسماعيل

    2013-5-22

    And why not 75%? 1- The duplication of the Suez Canal coming and going, as there will only be 110 km left for the completion of the duplication, and 80 km of it will be totally duplicated and increasing the current depth by 50% before the building of any tunnel beneath the canal. 2- Building international roads parallel to the Canal to the east and the west from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, which would transport the same load as the canal of international goods. 4- Building International gas and oil pipelines, parallel to the canal to the east and the west from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, which would transport the same load as the canal of oil and gas and other materials. 5-Create moving buildings according to the requirements along the channel 6 - Implementation of the previous five steps and then you can create and implement any project like that.

  • فهد مصعب

    2013-5-18

    Egypt only needs stability, if that occurs and the opposition calms down a bit for the sake of the people, we’ll find investors inside Egypt and everything’s going to be all right, and particularly in the Suez Canal area. As investors know what is the Suez Canal pretty well and thanks God there aren’t any wars with other countries, and Egypt’s safe and secure after all, and there is no terrorism which is a bless, all we need to do is to organize our papers correctly in a pro-investment way, and we could turn the dream into reality and the industrial city of Suez Canal would turn to reality in a short period. We have to be optimistic or we’ll remain in poverty for ever.

  • فارس احمد

    2013-5-17

    We don’t know a lot about the Canal development project… and are the citizens of Suez, Ismailia, Port Said and Sharqiya aware of the project and ready for it by trained employees? We don’t know. I read the criticism of counselor Tarek Al-Bishry in Al-Shorooq portal. And he believes that the draft law, yes I repeat the draft law doesn’t comply with the Egyptian constitution. And I have a few remarks: First: the Egyptian government should publish the details of the project on the Internet and the official media, in order to know about it. Second: Egypt should consider the experience of China, when they accepted for Hong-Kong to remain ruled by the same rules of the colonization, and they economically supported it during the period of the Asian economic crisis. Having done that, China has helped Hong Kong to attract technology, knowledge and culture, which helped China in its renaissance. The thing that means the independence of the Suez Canal territory administratively is similar to the Hong Kong model. And finally, we have to know that there are implications for the globalization. President Morsi was right when he said yesterday “We are living in a world of the strong, and whoever pays lots of money in a land, will demand a legal protection on the International level”. Which means either we play on the International level or we remain out of date? Hopefully, Al-Ahram will publish the details of the project.

  • اشرف متولى

    2013-5-16

    O God! Guide him to do what pleases you. All people must realize that this project is the cause of the bad relations between Egypt and the UAE, because it will lead to transferring all the investments to Egypt, which makes Egypt one of the best states economically. This is the cause of the campaign of the people with weak souls against this project, as they want to destroy any development or real renaissance in Egypt.

  • rabia safena

    2013-5-13

    God is the greatest and we ask God to guide all the Egyptians and our president Mursi. The blessings are coming God willing.

  • م خالد

    2013-5-13

    O God! help Mursi to face the enemies of the success.