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Aug.24, 2015

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INTERNATIONAL MARITIME IMPORTING | EXPORTING | PORTS | CARRIERS | BREAKBULK | GLOBAL LOGISTICS 42 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE AUGUST 24.2015 NOW TH E RE AL work can begin. When Eg ypt this month opened its $8 billion, 45-mile extension of the Suez Canal, it represented just the beginning of a much bigger plan to develop a logistics hub to serve international trade in the gulf region, Europe and Asia. The so-called SCZone, announced at the Egypt Economic Development Con- ference in March, envisions logistics, ship- ping and industrial development at three primary nodes along the canal: Ismailia, Ain Sokhna-Suez and Port Said. "There is potential for the region to derive much greater return through increased capac - ity to handle larger vessels and by offering additional services," according to SCZone, the general authority for the Suez Canal Economic Zone. The East Port Said development proj- ect is generally considered to be the most important part of the overall plan, but 20 years into development, it has a long way to go: Of the 28 square miles of land allocated for industry, logistics and shipping facilities in 1995, only 2 percent is being utilized. At the center of the project is Suez Canal Container Terminal, one of only two companies located in the zone. The APM Terminals facility opened on a greenfield site in 2004, attracting some of the world's largest vessels moving goods from northern Asia to the Middle East, Mediterranean, Europe and North America. The second-largest APMT operation in the region after Algeciras, Spain, SCCT handled 3.4 million 20-foot-equivalent container units in 2014, some 85 percent of which was transshipment cargo. "We are in a great location for transship- ment and can connect Egypt to all major trade lanes," SCCT CEO Klaus Laursen said. "We transfer cargo to smaller vessels and transship to Beirut, Syria and Israel. The Black Sea ports are also important destina- tions. The Black Sea is interesting because it offers the shortest route to Moscow. We see a lot of opportunities for SCCT." Those opportunities only increased on Aug. 5 when Egypt opened the $8 billion, 44.7-mile Suez Canal extension that allows two-way traffic to transit the waterway for the first time. The new channel allows for a reduc- tion in transit times from 18 to 11 hours by eliminating the need for ships to anchor in the Great Bitter Lake while vessel con- voys traveling in the opposite direction pass. It also provides increased capacity for ves- sels with drafts of more than 45 feet. Before the opening of the new channel, only eight vessels with drafts greater than 45 feet could be accommodated on the canal at any one time. "It will mean that if a vessel has a prob- lem — if it is grounded or there is another issue — the canal will not have to be closed to traffic," said Amr Elbibany, general man- ager of vessel agency and Suez Canal Transit at Maersk Line. "There are potentially other cost savings in that the additional transit time provided can allow vessels to travel at a more economical speed. Under the old system, when the vessel was at anchor for six or eight hours the engine was not turned off, so there are also fuel savings and envi- ronmental benefits." The completion of the project comes less than a year before an expansion of even greater scope and perhaps more impact opens half a world away. When the Panama By Turloch Mooney EGYPT'S NEXT BIG THING With its $8 billion Suez Canal expansion complete, the country looks to develop a world-class logistics hub

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