In light of the huge explosion at Port of Beirut back in August 2020, the French container major, CMA CGM is pursuing a plan in an effort to rebuild the port within three years.
To remind, a chemical explosion at the port killed 200 people while destroyed entire neighbourhoods, deepening Lebanon’s worst political and economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
CMA CGM’s plan, first outlined to Lebanese authorities in September, envisages the reconstruction of damaged docks and warehouses, along with port expansion and digitalisation, at a total cost estimated at $400 million to $600 million, as Joe Dakkak, general manager CMA CGM Lebanon told Reuters.
Earlier this month, Germany presented a separate multi-billion-dollar plan to rebuild Beirut’s port and neighbouring.
As Dakkak said to Reuters, the German initiative was more focused on longer-term real-estate development, but CMA CGM would be willing to contribute to the port part of that project if invited to.
The French government is not part of CMA CGM’s reconstruction plan, Dakkak said, adding French companies and financial institutions had shown interest, and that the Lebanese state would have a role through a public-private partnership.
As well as devastating the bulk section of Beirut port, last year’s blast destroyed equipment in the container terminal. This has doubled waiting time for vessels, adding to longstanding inefficiencies at the port, according to Dakkak.
CMA CGM is the leading shipping operator at Beirut port, accounting for 60% of volumes, and remains a candidate in partnership with Swiss-based MSC for the concession to run the container terminal, Dakkak said.
It has been told a tender process to run the container terminal, held up by the political crisis, will be relaunched in two weeks, he concluded.