Abu Dhabi Ports initials $3 mln agreement to develop, operate three Egyptian cruise terminals

Ahram Online , Friday 5 Jan 2024

The Abu Dhabi Ports Group initialed on Thursday a 15-year concession agreement, worth $3 million, with the Egyptian Red Sea Ports Authority (RSPA) to construct, upgrade, operate, and maintain the passenger and cruise ship terminals at the ports of Hurghada, Safaga, and Sharm El-Sheikh.



The agreement is part of Egypt’s plan to expand cruise tourism, as has been the case with yacht tourism, the Egyptian Ministry of Transportation said in a statement on Thursday.

Under the deal, the three terminals will be ameliorated to attract the largest possible number of international ships to Egyptian ports, doubling their operational capacity and expanding transit trade, transportation minister Kamel El-Wazir, who attended the signing ceremony on Thursday, said.

Egypt, El-Wazir added, seeks to leverage its distinctive location to become a hub for global trade and logistics and to maximize transit trade and therefore influence the national income. 

The new partnership will facilitate the operation of a cruise line connecting the Egyptian ports with UAE’s Zayed Port and, in a later stage, with the ports of the Arabian Gulf, the Port of Aqaba, and European and Asian ports, the minister added.

Minister El-Wazir underscored that the deal involves neither a sale nor an acquisition but rather represents a partnership between the two sides. “Egypt has not and will not sell its ports,” he added.

The agreement reflects the Abu Dhabi group’s commitment to strengthen the existing ties between the UAE and Egypt, said Ahmed Al-Mutawa, the regional CEO of the group, in a statement on Friday.

With a $3 million investment, the group targets boosting cruise tourism in the Red Sea, bringing world-class services and facilities to these ports, and supporting economic growth for Egypt, Al-Mutawa added.

According to the group’s statement, a definitive concession agreement is expected to be concluded in the first quarter of 2024, subject to regulatory approvals.

The initial agreement came weeks after AD Ports signed a 30-year definitive concession agreement with the RSPA for the development and operation of the Safaga 2 multi-purpose terminal at Safaga Sea Port with $200 million in investments over three years.

Egypt is pressing ahead with efforts to attract foreign investment, particularly from Gulf nations to help its economy recover and fulfill its commitments under the $3 billion loan deal signed in 2022 with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In May 2023, El-Wazir said Egypt was seeking partners in the UAE to invest in some of the $20 billion projects planned in the country’s transport sector.

Emirati investments in Egypt surged 300 percent to reach $5.7 billion in FY2021/2022, up from $1.4 billion in FY2020/2021.

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