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El Hamdania port

The government of Algeria has approved construction of a new deepwater port at El Hamdania. The US$3.3B project, which envisages a role for an overseas partner, will be implemented in two phases.

The port will be located close to the town of Cherchell, in Tipaza province, some 80 km west of Algiers.

This is a natural sheltered bay and offers draught of up to 20m.

El Hamdania is also a designated industrial development centre, with existing connections to the national highway network and to a local power station.

Plans envisage construction of up to 23 berths, giving the port a combined capacity of 25.7 Mtpa.

South Korea-based Yuhill-Yooshin and Algeria’s Laboratoire des études maritimes (LEM) completed a detailed plan at the end of December, and the project has now secured $900m worth of funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB), allowing the project to proceed. The AfDB loan will be repaid 20 years, with five years’ grace.

El Hamdania, which is located 70km west of Algiers, is to be developed in phases with eventual annual handling capacity of 6.3m TEU per year, spread over 23 berths. TEU measures a ship’s cargo carrying capacity, and the measurement is equivalent to 20 feet in length and 8 feet in height.

This would rank it second in Africa, after Tanger Med’s 9m TEU per year.

The port is to be developed by China Harbour Engineering Company and China State Construction Engineering Corporation, which will take a joint 49% stake in the operating company, with the Algerian Port Authority taking 51%.

It has been reported in Algiers that a consortium of Chinese banks are to provide additional finance, although they have not yet been named. However, the involvement of Chinese firms in the scheme indicates that Chinese funding is likely.

Construction work is due to begin in March this year, with the first berths scheduled for completion in 2021.The ambition of competing with Morocco’s Tanger Med is a laudable.

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