Cherchell, Algeria (PortSEurope) March 23, 2021 – The construction of the Algeria’s new commercial port of El Hamdania (between the cities of Cherchell in the province of Tipaza and Tenes in the province of Chlef) is expected to start in May. This is going to be the first Algerian deep-water and the country’s largest port, and only the second deep-water port in Africa. Located 70
km from the country’s capital Algiers, the Port of El Hamdania (and the adjacent future two industrial zones covering jointly 2,000 hectares of land) is seen by the government as an answer to Morocco’s Tanger Med deep-water port (capacity over 9 million TEUs per year), the largest one in the Mediterranean Sea. El Hamdania is being positioned to become a hub that could potentially compete with the Spanish ports of Valencia and Barcelona. Tanger Med port has managed to lure transhipment business away from ports in southern Europe – from Valencia and Algeciras in Spain and Gioia Tauro in Southern Italy – and also encouraged export-driven firms to locate new factories in Morocco. By ensuring the same deep-water access and modern cargo handling equipment, Algiers is keen to follow the same model. The future port will have 23 terminals with a processing capacity of 6.5 million containers (TEUs) per year or 25.7 million tonnes of goods per year. It will have the capacity to vessels up to 240,000 tons. According to Algeria’s Public Works Department, El Hamdania port will be one of the top 30 ports in the world by containers handled when completed. It is also expected to be the biggest ever infrastructure project in Algeria with a cost of $3.3 billion. Efforts to restart the construction of the deep-water Port of El Hamdania could represent new business opportunities in the port development and equipment sectors with procurement opportunities for computer systems and software; design and planning services; dredging; security systems, services and technology; terminal technologies and systems; vessel traffic information systems. Barriers to entry in the Algerian (outdated, Soviet era style) market include investment laws that require Algerian partners to hold a 51% project stake and high customs duties. Algerian authorities are in the process of releasing land for the new port; for the roads that will link the El-Hamdania port to the East-West highway, which is about 35 km from the port; for a link to Algeria’s main railway lines that are about 24 km from the port. The mega port will be constructed by an Algerian consortium composed of the local Public Port Services Group, China State Construction Corporation (CSCEC) and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) and will take four years to complete. Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG), which is 61% owned the government of the city of Shanghai, is the planned operator of the port. CSCEC and CHEC will have a joint 49% stake in the operating company, with the Algerian Port Authority holding 51% in the new port, which is located only 70 km west of the capital Algiers. In exchange for Chinese financing, the agreement handed port’s operations to the Chinese for the first 25 years. The port will cover an area of 1,000 hectares and will have a logistics complex of 2,000 hectares, the shipping and ports director of the Algerian Transport Ministry, Mohamed Ibn Boushaki, said. Algerian government expects annual cargo traffic of the future El Hamdania port to reach 35 million tonnes by 2050. China’s state-owned shipping line, COSCO Shipping, suggested in 2017 that it could make El Hamdania its hub in the western Mediterranean Sea. El Hamdania will seek to attract transhipment business serving West Africa. The government’s strategic objective for the port is to be used by land-locked African countries. The highway between the port and the southern border of Algeria is to be upgraded, enabling containers to be taken faster to many parts of the land-locked West Africa. The port will connect Algeria with Southeast Asia, the U.S., and Africa Algeria wants to regain its place in the maritime sector at the Mediterranean and African level. However, so far, the majority of its ports are embedded in urban centers, which limits any possibility of infrastructure expansion. The political turmoil in Algeria has hampered efforts to implement mega-projects to which the Algerian government has assigned high priority since 2016 and the plans for which were approved in 2017. Work on the project was suspended in April 2019 – at the start of the Hirak protests. In July 2020, following the change in government the decision was taken to try to relaunch the project. In addition to funding issues (expected to be resolved with the help of Chinese banks), the project faces opposition from local authorities, who fear construction work could threaten the seaside ecosystem as well as the region’s rich archaeological sites. The selection of the El Hamdania site, east of Cherchell, for the new port was based on studies showing that this area has a draft of over 20 meters, in addition to a wide bay providing natural protection. South Korea’s Yuhill-Yooshin and Algeria’s Laboratoire des études maritimes (LEM) completed a detailed plan for the new port in December 2017 (More information about the El Hamdania project in PortSEurope story Construction of Algeria’s new El Hamdania mega port is expected to start in May). Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2021.