Sokhna World port in Egypt is a free economic and trade area that is on a mission to boost foreign investments
In 2011, the political storm known as the Arab Spring was a force that threatened to derail the economic success chalked up over the years in North Africa. The uproar spread from Tunisia, where it all began, to Egypt. Eight years later and investors are looking to the future with one aim in mind - to improve life for people in Egypt.
DP World Sokhna is part of DP World's international network, a network that currently encompasses 60 terminals across 31 countries. The free economic and trade area is a joint project by two industry giants. Suez Canal Authority and DP World want to boost foreign investments in the port.
Ajay Kumar Singh is CEO of DP World Sokhna. He says many companies have already decided to base their operations there.
“Most of the industries that come to invest at Sokhna establish their operations over here," he explains. "This is one of the reasons why Sokhna stands out as one of the major hubs with 87 industries here right now. It's still growing to become one of the biggest gateways to Africa.”
The Sokhna World Zone, an integrated industrial and residential zone covering some 95 sq km managed by DP World, is 120 kilometers from the capital Cairo. Good roads links ensure smooth access to the city's 18 million consumers. Millions of people are relying on DP World's wealth of experience to obtain everyday goods and services.
Ajay Kumar Singh believes Egypt is well-placed economically to deliver on its promises.
“Egypt’s macro-economic indicators have stabilized in the last couple of years that includes GDP and trade growth," he says. "Egypt is also part of COMESA which gives it enough power to trade within the African continent. Egypt is also turning out to be one of the main hubs or distribution centres for the whole of Africa. The government of Egypt recently set-up a connection between Sokhna and East Africa towards Mombasa and Dar Es Salaam.”
Egypt's economy is growing rapidly. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew to 5.6% in the third quarter of 2019 against 5.4% in the same period of 2017-2018. The North African state is now targeting 6% GDP growth in the 2019/20 fiscal year which runs from 1st July to 30th June.
In 2016, the Egyptian government began to implement crucial reforms to stabilise the economy and restore confidence in the face of macro-economic imbalances. The Savola Sugar Company is one of the major businesses that frequently uses DP World Sokhna port. The Egyptian government has built infrastructures to support companies like Savola, enabling it to reach both domestic and international markets.
“We export around 400,000 tons of sugar in the region," explains Sherif Abdeen, General Manager of Savola Food's Egypt sugar sector. "So being located at Sokhna along the Red Sea gives us access to markets in the East and Horn of Africa. With the logistic capability of DP World, we are able to reach markets in the East Mediterranean and also North Africa. This is a massive advantage for us."
DP World Sokhna has two basins handling cargo. Basin one has a capacity of 945000 TEU, while basin two has a capacity of 750000 TEU. The port also has a capacity of 4.8 million tons. In 2018, it recorded over 4 million tons.
Its massive shore and quay mobile cranes work endlessly to ease congestion at the port which has in turn lead to a positive knock-on effect for various industries in Egypt.
The port is also a major source of employment. DP World Sokhna employs over a thousand workers who frequently undergo training programmes to improve port operations.
Last year the DC World launched #DPWorld4Women, a programme to promote gender equality in the workplace.
And the company claims its diversity policy is particularly exciting for women who want to advance in an industry that has traditionally been male dominated.