Maersk to Expand Egyptian Terminal as Competition Increases


Competition among the container carriers and their terminal operators will be heating up in Egypt in the coming years as the country works to become the home of one of the primary transshipping operations in the Mediterranean.

The Suez Canal Authority reports that Maersk will be investing $500 million in the expansion and modernization of its terminal operation. At the same time, Hapag announced plans for a new terminal operation in Egypt two months ago. In addition, there are reports that Egypt has also entered into a preliminary agreement with a partnership between France's CMA CGM Group and Chinese companies COSCO and Hutchison Ports of Hong Kong. 

Maersk operates Egypt's only container terminal at the northern end of the Suez Canal. It opened in 2004 as a joint venture between APM Terminals, the Suez Canal Authority and other Egyptian companies, and COSCO.

Located in East Port Said, the terminal already serves as a hub for distribution to the key markets in the Eastern Mediterranean. In 17 years of operations, SCCT reports it has handled more than 27,400 vessels with a total of 44 million TEUs. Currently, half of the total container traffic in Egypt uses SCCT.

The goal is to transform the terminal into a green operation by 2030 completely. Maersk will also work to develop the terminal into an intelligent process using current technologies.

This successive expansion phase comes after APM completes the phase II expansion of SCCT. That saw a capacity increase to 5.4 million TEU annually.

A dredging project was also underway, deepening the terminal's draft to over 57 feet. The terminal can handle the largest container vessels transiting the Suez Canal.

Three months ago, Hapag announced that it would build a new terminal near the Egyptian port of Damietta. Due to opening in 2024, Hapag's terminal will have a capacity of 3.3 million TEU.

The company says it is also targeting transhipment into the Eastern Mediterranean.

CMA CGM Group, COSCO, and Hutchison Ports will participate in a further port development program that could total up to $800 million in investments.

The development of the ports is in line with Egypt's plans to become a commercial centre for the region.