The latest plan for the waterway and its hinterland aims to put that right.

The appointment in August 2014 of Lebanon’s Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners) as the consultant responsible for drawing up the masterplan for the development of the Suez Canal corridor was overshadowed by the announcement of a scheme to expand the waterway itself.

Now that much of the excavation and dredging of the new channels for the canal have been completed, the attention of investors is returning to the plans for new port capacity, infrastructure and industries to be developed alongside the waterway.

The masterplan is more or less complete, and responsibility for the project’s promotion and execution will pass to a dedicated new authority that is to be set up in the next few weeks under an amended version of Law 83, passed in 2002 to govern an earlier version of the Suez regional development zone.

According to the broad lines of the masterplan, in the first phase up to 2030, a total of $55bn of investment will be needed for the three main elements: $15bn for infrastructure, such as roads, power supplies, water and wastewater; $25bn for the development of ports, including the expansion of the East Port Said container
terminal’s capacity to 20 million 20-foot equivalent units a year, from about 5 million today; and $15bn for industrial developments. These include flagship schemes such as the Tahrir Petrochemicals Complex being undertaken by the local Carbon Holdings.