Dubai based port operator DP World signed an agreement for a joint venture with Egypt to set up a new economic zone in the Suez canal region, at a conference in Sharm al Sheikh on Tuesday.
The new industrial and residential zone in the town of Al Sokhna lies in an area on the western shore the Suez Canal trade route, a major shipping corridor and artery of global trade.
The new project will cover 95 square kilometres and include industrial and residential areas coupled with the development of Sokhna Port, increasing its capacity and linking it to the industrial zone and creating more than 400,000 jobs.
The zone will be focused on business sectors include light and medium-sized industries, logistics, and service utilities. Targeted industries include medical, electronics and communications, construction materials, logistics, textiles, automotive parts, food processing, energy production components and petrochemicals.
A residential zone spanning 20 square kilometres will include coastal villas, residential units, shopping and administrative centers, entertainment facilities, mosques, schools, hospitals, clubs and green spaces and will be designed to accommodate 500,000 people.
The Suez Canal Economic Zone will have a majority stake in the venture, of 51 percent and DP World a 49 percent stake. DP World will mamange the zone, which is projected to start in the first quarter of 2018.
The agreement was signed by chairman of the Suez Canal Authority and the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone), Admiral Mohab Mamish, and Chairman and CEO, DP World, Sultan Bin Sulayem, Group in the presence of Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail.
The agreement marks a major investment in regional trade and will build on the canal’s regional trade network, chairman and CEO, DP World, Sultan bin Sulayem said.
“The development of the zone will support the sustainable growth of the country and help it attract more business investment. It will also help transform the Suez Canal into a major trade and business hub in the region, given its strategic location and role as an artery for global trade," said Bin Sulayem.
He added that the role of the Egyptian government in removing barriers to investment were key factors in the future success of the project.
“This partnership demonstrates the commitment of DP World to support the growth of Egypt’s economy and reflects the trust we place in the determination of the government to make the project a success," he said.
Bin Sulayem said DP World’s global trade expertise and logistical know-how across six continents, will add value to the Egyptian economy and leave a legacy for future generations.
Admiral Mohab Mamish, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority and Chairman of the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone), said the partnership transforms Ain Al Sokhna into an international hub similar to Jebel Ali.
“This signing builds on the historic relations between Egypt and the UAE and is aligned with the vision of President Sisi for the development of trade in the region," said Mamish.
The canal is the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia and one of the Egyptian government's main sources of foreign currency, raking in $447.1 million in July from $427.2 million in revenues in June this year alone.
In line with the Egyptian government’s plans to develop the Suez Canal Corridor and the new administrative capital, the development will aim to create a sustainable industrial zone to attract foreign investment.
It will feature a range of investment incentives and promote the development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), create job opportunities and provide training for young Egyptians adding value to the economy.
Admiral Mamish added that the project was vital for Egypt’s industrial and economic growth.
“The project includes a comprehensive economic zone in Sokhna including an industrial free zone and a number of development projects that will boost the national economy and create jobs for Egyptian youth," said Mamish.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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