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Sun 12 Dec 2010 12:02 PM

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Syria to invest $794m in its marine transport sector

Investment is part of country's five-year plan; represents a four-fold increase for the sector

Syria to invest $794m in its marine transport sector
MARINE TRANSPORT: Syria is to invest $794m developing its marine transport sector, it was announced on Sunday (Getty Images)

Syria is to invest $794m developing its marine transport sector, it was announced on Sunday.

During the opening of the 1st International Forum for Marine Transport in Syria, Minister of Transport Yarub Badr announced that around SYP37bn ($794m) will be spent on the marine transport sector as part of the government’s five-year plan, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported on Sunday.

The investment represents a four-fold increase in expenditure in the sector, compared to the SYP9bn ($193m) spent as part of the previous five year plan.

Badr also announced that the next five-year plan “underlined the strategic importance of Tartous Port in Syria” and called for the establishment of a centre for marine training and marine courts at the site.

The International Forum for Marine Transport was attended by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association (FAITA) and discussed issues such as the state of the Syrian marine fleet, relevant legislations and customs systems, logistics and investment opportunities.

In October, it was announced that Syria is investing as much as $10.36bn on new developments.

The projects, spanning across the residential, retail, hospitality, office, leisure, infrastructure, energy and tourism sectors, are part of a scheme, kicking off this December, to enhance the country’s economy and attract foreign capital.

Already, several high-profile GCC firms are already making waves in the region, including Majid Al Futtaim Group and Al Qudra Holding, Qatari Diar and Syrian Qatari Holding, Emaar- IGO, Saudi Binladin Group, and Khorafi Group.

“The Syrian Government is aggressively moving towards achieving the set goals of their five-year development plan,” says project and risk management consultancy CMCS’ CEO and founder, Bassam Samman.

“The government has already announced a number of projects for the remainder of 2010 and for the next development period.”

One of the biggest new projects in Syria is the Khams Shamat mixed-used project, located in the Sabboura Yafour area on the Damascus-Beirut highway and being developed by MAF Properties.

Speaking about the new market in an earlier statement, company CEO Peter Walichnowski said: “With the new investment offerings the Syrian economy is providing and the zest towards foreign investment, we found an outstanding opportunity to enter the Syrian market in a big way and be a major player in pushing the tourism, hospitality and retail sectors forward.”

“We will bring to Syria international standard facilities that will be as good as anything else in the Middle East.”

In an interview with Construction Week, MAF’s vice president for project management Phil Gould said the development was currently in its design phase, and that construction was likely to begin in late August time 2011.

Contractors working in the country include the UAE’s construction giant Arabtec, recently assigned to build a $120m five-star hotel in the Syrian capital city of Damascus.

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