$3.5bn El Hamdania port to compete with Tanger Med
Feb 3, 2017: The government of Algeria will be developingthe new $3.5billion port and industrial zones at El Hamdania, in an attempt to replicate the success of the Tanger Med project in neighbouring Morocco.
South Korea-based Yuhill-Yooshin and Algeria’s Laboratoire des études maritimes (LEM) completed a detailed plan at the end of December, and the project has now secured $900m worth of funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB), allowing the project to proceed. The AfDB loan will be repaid 20 years, with five years’ grace.
El Hamdania, which is located 70km west of Algiers, is to be developed in phases with eventual annual handling capacity of 6.3m TEU per year, spread over 23 berths. TEU measures a ship’s cargo carrying capacity, and the measurement is equivalent to 20 feet in length and 8 feet in height.
This would rank it second in Africa, after Tanger Med’s 9m TEU per year. The port is to be developed by China Harbour Engineering Company and China State Construction Engineering Corporation, which will take a joint 49% stake in the operating company, with the Algerian Port Authority taking 51%.
It has been reported in Algiers that a consortium of Chinese banks are to provide additional finance, although they have not yet been named. However, the involvement of Chinese firms in the scheme indicates that Chinese funding is likely.
Construction work is due to begin in March this year, with the first berths scheduled for completion in 2021.The ambition of competing with Morocco’s Tanger Med is a laudable.
The Moroccan project has managed to lure transhipment business away from ports in southern Europe, including Valencia and Algeciras in Spain and GioiaTauro in Italy, while also encouraging export-driven firms to locate new factories in Morocco. By ensuring the same deepwater access and modern cargo handling equipment, Algiers is keen to follow the same model.