Egypt awards Suez Canal mega project to Gulf-based Dar Al-Handasah

Ahram Online, Tuesday 19 Aug 2014

Bahrain-registered international firm wins rights to develop industrial hub along international waterway after beating 13 other bidders

new Suez Canal
Bulldozers and trucks are seen in a demonstration of the equipment which will be used as part of plans for a major upgrade of the Suez Canal, in Cairo August 5, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt has chosen a consortium including Dar Al-Handasah (Shair and Partners) and its Egyptian partner for its new Suez Canal mega project, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority and head of the executive council of the Suez Canal Corridor Project Mohab Mamish announced during a conference on Tuesday.

The plan includes an industrial hub along a 160 km corridor of barren desert beside the international waterway and a centre for supplies and logistics.

The consultancy – registered in Bahrain, according to Mamish – was chosen out of 14 international firms that met the tender specifications for a massive economic development project in the Suez Canal region.

Founded in Beirut in 1956, Dar Al-Handasah became Dar Al-Handasah Shair and Partners after handing 60 percent of its ownership to senior management.

According to its website, the engineering firm today boasts 6,900 staff members operating across 45 offices in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe, with five principal design centres in Beirut, Cairo, London, Pune and Amman.

Among the landmark projects across the region in the firm's portfolio is the reconstruction of downtown Beirut after the Lebanese civil war, with work taking place from 1991 to 1999, Cairo International Airport's Terminal 3, completed in 2008, and the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, a mega-project currently in the works.

Dar is the founding member of the Dar Group, an international network of globally-recognised service firms.

The first and second runner-ups for the planning of the project were Netherlands-based Royal Haskoning (DHV) and its Egyptian partner Pacer, followed by Dutch Witteveen+Bos and its Egyptian partner, the Egyptian Group for Engineering and Contracting (EGEC).

Egypt's new development projects along the Suez Canal "can make a big difference for its struggling economy," Hartwig Schafer, the World Bank's Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti, told the conference attendees on Tuesday.

The World Bank is participating in the project in an advisory capacity, Schafer confirmed.

Egypt's new development projects along the Suez Canal will create "at least one million employment opportunities," Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahleb claimed in his address, calling the project a "new dawn" for the country.

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