Egypt signs agreements with AD Ports Group to develop cruise terminals in Red Sea ports

Ahram Online , Wednesday 12 Jun 2024

Egypt, represented by the Red Sea Ports Authority and Suez Canal Economic Zone, signed two concession agreements on Wednesday with Emirates’ Abu Dhabi Ports Group for developing, managing, and operating cruise terminals in Red Sea ports.

Sharm El Sheikh Port
File Photo: Yachts and Ships docked at Sharm El Sheikh Port.


AD Ports Group and Egypt's Red Sea Port Authority signed the first agreement on Wednesday, which allows the Emirati group definitive concessions to develop, operate, and manage three cruise terminals at Safaga, Hurghada, and Sharm El-Sheikh ports.

Several high-profile officials attended the signing, which was held at the Egyptian cabinet headquarters in the New Administrative Capital.

The officials included Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Transport Kamel El-Wazir, Ambassador of the UAE to Egypt Mariam Al-Kaabi, and Managing Director and Group CEO of AD Ports Group Mohamed Juma Al-Shamisi.

During the signing of the agreement, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Red Sea Port Authority Osama Saleh represented the Egyptian side. In contrast, the Regional CEO of AD Ports Group Ahmed Al-Mutawa represented the Emirati side.

AD Ports Group has committed a total investment of $4.7 million over the next 15 years to manage and operate the three cruise terminals. These terminals, expected to operate by 2025, would enhance services, improve access for cruise operators, and add new itineraries through the Group’s cruise terminal network in the Red Sea.

Minister of Transport Kamel El-Wazir explained that the Safaga and Hurghada terminals are modern facilities previously inaugurated by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

The Sharm El-Sheikh terminal will be upgraded and redeveloped through this partnership with AD Ports Group.

According to El-Wazir, this collaboration is part of the Ministry of Transport’s comprehensive plan to establish strategic partnerships with leading global port management and shipping companies, ensuring frequent international ship arrivals at Egyptian ports, doubling port operational capacity, and expanding transit trade.

He added that this agreement would facilitate a cruise line between Port Zayed and the ports of Safaga, Hurghada, and Sharm El-Sheikh and later to ports in the Gulf, Aqaba, Europe and Asia.

To operate these terminals, the AD Ports group will rely on Egyptian employees to fill in  95-96 percent of the jobs involved, according to El-Wazir.

Similarly, AD Ports Group and the General Authority of the Suez Canal Economic Zone signed two 30-year concession agreements for developing, managing, and operating a Ro-Ro terminal and a cruise terminal at Sokhna Port.

Under this agreement, the group will invest $5.3 million.

This investment will enhance the connectivity of Sokhna Port with over 26 countries worldwide, significantly supporting the automotive supply chains in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.


Red Sea Ports

Following the agreements with AD Ports Group, Minister of Transport Kamel El-Wazir provided details on the current and future capacities of Egypt's ports on the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

El-Wazir highlighted that these ports currently accommodate about one million passengers annually, 80 percent of whom are ferry passengers (Egyptian workers and pilgrims) and 20 percent cruise tourists.

The Ministry of Transport, he explained, aims to double the capacity of cruise terminals to welcome approximately 1.5 million cruise passengers per terminal annually, reaching a total capacity of 7.5 million cruise passengers per year during the agreement period.

El-Wazir projected that direct revenues from ship fees and services at the ports of Sokhna, Safaga, Hurghada, and Sharm El-Sheikh would amount to around $500 million during the agreement period.

Indirect revenues, mainly from transit passengers using Egyptian airports (excluding any tourist spending in tourist cities) are expected to reach $8 billion.

According to El-Wazir, the Sokhna passenger terminal’s planned area is expected to be around 45,000 square metres with a berth length of 385 metres and a draft of 18 metres. The terminal is designed to handle 1.5 million tourists annually and is located about 60 minutes from Cairo International Airport and approximately 70 minutes from Cairo.

On the other hand, he explained that the Safaga passenger terminal currently has a berth length of 440 metres and a draft of 10 metres and is located about 45 minutes from Hurghada Airport and approximately three hours from Luxor. 

After development, the terminal, according to El-Wazir, would span a total area of 12,000 square metres with an annual capacity of 1.3 million passengers. It will feature a departure hall of 3,400 square metres, accommodating 2,000 passengers per trip, and an arrival hall of 3,400 square metres with a similar capacity of 2,000 passengers per trip. The terminal would also include seven administrative and service buildings.

Similarly, the Minister of Transport indicated that the Hurghada passenger terminal will include an arrival hall of 40,000 square metres, nine-passenger arrival gates using loading bridges, gates for transferring passengers from buses to aircraft, 18 bank units, travel agencies, nine double passport control units, escalators, elevators, and a departure hall of 40,000 square metres with nine double passport control units and duty-free shops.

The terminal would handle approximately 1.5 million passengers annually, he noted.

Moreover, according to El-Wazir, the Sharm El-Sheikh passenger terminal, located about 15 minutes from Sharm El-Sheikh Airport, currently has a berth length of 550 metres and a draft ranging from 5 to 10 metres. The terminal, he explained, is expected to undergo development over an area of 16,000 square metres to create a specialized passenger terminal with an annual capacity of 1.5 million tourists.

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