Egypt Picks Saudi Consultancy to Draft Suez Plan

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Egypt has selected a Saudi consultancy to draw up the plan for the government’s mega project to transform the Suez Canal waterway into a hub of international investment and free trade zones.

Suez Canal Authority chief Moheeb Mamish announced in Cairo that Dar Al-Handasah Shair — a leading Mideast design, architecture and engineering consultancy — was chosen among 14 candidates.

Egypt announced it had chosen a consortium that includes the Egyptian army and Dar Al-Handasah Shair and Partners to develop the industrial and logistics hub in the Suez Canal area.

The Suez Canal is the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia and brings in around $5 billion in revenues per year, a vital source of hard currency for Egypt which has struggled since a 2011 uprising deterred tourists and foreign investors.

In January, Egypt invited 14 consortia to bid for the development of 76,000 square kilometers around the canal, a project that was first floated several years ago but never taken further.

Mohab Memish made the announcement at a news conference in Ismailia, a city on the banks of the canal in north west Egypt.

The event was attended by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab.

“The winning consortium to create the master plan for the Suez Canal area development project is the consortium of Dar Al-Handasah Shair and Partners, which is registered in Bahrain, in alliance with Dar Al-Handasah Egypt,” Memish said.

The Egyptian army is a local partner in Dar Al-Handasah Egypt through the Armed Forces Engineering Authority, a government source told Reuters previously.

Egyptian President and former army chief Abdel Fattah El-Sissi has said he would not hesitate to award major projects that would help revive Egypt’s economy to the army.

The project is separate from another mega project for the Suez Canal, unveiled by the president recently and which involves the expansion of waterway.

In that project, the Egyptian military and local companies would dig out a new, 35km segment of the waterway.