Dutch dredging companies Boskalis and Van Oord have acquired a hotly contested contract to build a second Suez canal in Egypt. The contract is worth around $1.5bn, the Financieele Dagblad reported at the weekend.
‘It’s one of the biggest dredging jobs of the decade’, the paper quotes Boskalis ceo Peter Berdowski as saying.
The contract was signed at the weekend by the Egyptian prime-minister and the head of the Suez Canal Authorities (SCA). Boskalis and Van Oord have formed a consortium with Belgian company Jan de Nul and NMDC from Abu Dhabi.
The plan to build a second Suez Canal parallel to the existing canal was announced by president Al-Sisi in August. It is meant to put an end to the one way traffic in some parts of the canal and avoid congestion on one of the most important shipping routes in the world.
The project will also bring employment to the area, revive the economy and give a boost to national pride, the FD writes.
The canal generates some $5bn in toll revenue a year which makes it the Egypt’s biggest earner. A parallel shipping lane will almost double the number of ships that pass through the canal and take it from 49 to 97 ships a day. The Egyptian government expects toll revenue to rise to over $13bn annually.
The consortium is going to have to remove 180 million cubic meters of sand in order to dig the 24 meter deep, 50km long canal. Time is short: the consortium only has ten months to finish the job and dredging boats from all over the world are converging on Egypt. ‘It’s going to be an enormous challenge,’ Berdowski is quoted as saying.
The Dutch consortium pipped the China Harbor Engineering & Construction (Chec) to the post, ‘probably because we were the only ones who could come up with the material in such a short amount of time,’ Berdowski told the FD.
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