The Dubai-based ports operator is close to finalising terms on a 35-year concession deal that would require it to significantly boost container capacity to 3.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) over time.

Industrial facilities at the site will also be expanded, with capacity for liquid bulk cargo increased. Construction of a new import-export facility for petrochemicals has also been discussed.

Speaking at MEED’s Port Development 2009 conference in Dubai on 2 February, Corne Hulst, general manager of DP World’s operation at Sokhna, says that various models for the deal are under discussion.

“We are still establishing a timeline to build the 3.5 million TEUs,” he says. “We can build the capacity without any problem but we need some flexibility in the arrangement to account for fluctuations in the global economy. We expect the agreement to be signed soon.”

Around 90 per cent of Sokhna’s traffic is imported goods, although the port is also a key site for Egyptian exports to Saudi Arabia.