President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi announced on Tuesday that the Egyptian state is now developing its nationwide ports with its own funds and is willing to facilitate the involvement of any investors willing to participate.
El-Sisi made these remarks as he inspected the Port of Alexandria in the northern region of the country to follow up on the development of its facilities.
“Over the past years, we have been requesting investors to develop our own ports, including the Damietta port and others. Now, we are doing it ourselves and with our own funds,” El-Sisi said.
The president noted that the state eases the challenges facing investors, including the need to expropriate the buildings around projects and compensate residents.
“For sure, we want investors with us,” El-Sisi said, however, he added that investors sometimes find themselves unable to face some of the challenges of these projects.
“If we told [an investor] to develop a certain area, they will find challenges that they cannot deal with … But as a state, when we need to expropriate and compensate people, we do so… taking into consideration the security aspect, which we consider in all projects,” the president said.
El-Sisi also spoke about the Ain Sokhna Port on the Red Sea, saying that only one basin has been completed throughout the last 20-25 years. He noted that the state will expedite the process for investors in this regard.
“We want to give the chance for international investors and operators. We shorten their journey when [the state] does the [development] work,” El-Sisi added.
He noted that the construction work at the Ain Sokhna Port will cost EGP 25-30 billion.
“The state has now taken a different path … through which it aims to possess real capabilities and the components of a real economy to benefit from its position,” El-Sisi said.
Minister of Transport Kamel El-Wazir said Alexandria Port will become one of the largest ports in the Mediterranean by 2024 during a speech he delivered at the port.
El-Wazir listed during his speech the road and transportation projects that have been implemented in Egypt along with the ones that are still underway, including the railway network connecting Alexandria Port to the high-speed electric train line.
He added that monorail, metro, and high-speed train cars have reached Alexandria Port and will be put to use after the relevant construction work in the port is done.
Automation of services
Delivering a speech, Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait spoke about Egypt’s adoption of the Advance Cargo Information System, a global customs network that requires the release of cargo data before the ship’s departure from the loading port.
By 22 March, 2022, Egypt will not allow the entry of any goods unless they are in line with European standards, El-Sisi said.
“We will not accept goods entering Egypt that will last for a week or two or three or a month and then be thrown away.”
The president highlighted Egypt’s steps towards the “full automation” of customs and taxes procedures, saying it is the way to fight corruption.
“If you really want to face corruption, people have to deal with machines ... and both citizens and employees should not maintain direct communication,” El-Sisi said, noting that the state has been ready to pay up to “EGP 100 billion to automate all activities in the country and neutralise the human factor.”
The president also said that importers bringing goods that do not conform with specifications will be informed before the ship is loaded in the exporting country.
“We try to ensure that goods entering the country meet our specifications and [prevent the entry] of dangerous [goods] such as drugs,” El-Sisi added.
At the end of the event, the president also toured the The Museum of the Port of Alexandria and the Historical Hall.
The President talks to staff at the Port of Alexandria (Courtesy of the presidency)
President Sisi, PM Madbouly, Transport Minister Kamel El-Wazir and top state officials at the Port of Alexandria.
The President visits the Museum of the Port of Alexandria (Courtesy of the presidency)