German shipping group, Hapag-Lloyd, has confirmed it has started building a new container transhipment hub in the Egyptian port of Damietta. With an annual handling capacity of 3.3 million TEU, the new facility is expected to start operations in the second half of 2024, before steadily ramping up operations to the end of 2025.
The terminal will be equipped with 50 rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs), half of which will be powered by electricity, as well as 16 ship-to-shore cranes.
A joint venture, Damietta Alliance Container Terminal, has been launched to develop and operate the new Terminal 2. The biggest shareholder is Hapag-Lloyd Damietta, with a 39 per cent stake, while Eurogate Damietta and Contship Damietta each has a 29.5 per cent shareholding. Two local partners, the Middle East Logistics & Consultants Group and Ship & C.R.E.W. Egypt, hold a further 1 per cent stake each.
Currently Hapag-Lloyd’s transshipment operations in the Eastern Mediterranean are spread between different ports, including Piraeus and the existing Damietta CT1 terminal. The new terminal will eventually give Hapag-Lloyd the option to concentrate its transshipment business in Damietta and thereby improve its competitive position.
The terminal’s location roughly 60km from the northern outlet of the Suez Canal is a key advantage while the water depth of 18 m compared to the current 14 m at Terminal 1. This means that the new terminal will be able to handle ships of all sizes, including the 23,500 TEU dual-fuel ships, that Hapag-Lloyd has on order.
“In Damietta, we will have dedicated time slots for our feeder ships,” adds Marwan El Sammak, Managing Director Area Egypt.“When we have more services call at our new terminal in Damietta we expect to deliver to the market a much stronger value proposition and much better connectivity, this will ensure a higher customer satisfaction. Another anticipated benefit is a reduction in overall operating costs, which will ultimately lead to higher performance, improved productivity and more on-time handling.”