Two international companies are competing for the contract to draw up feasibility studies for an estimated $500 million port development in the Red Sea Free Zone, near Port Sudan.

China Harbour Engineering Company and an unidentified German company are in negotiations with the Sudanese Free Zones & Markets Company for the two-year contract. An award is expected in December.

Established in 2000, the 14-square-kilometre zone is a mixed-use development catering for industrial, commercial and service activities. The area is set to be expanded to 26 square kilometres by 2025 under a four-phase development programme.

The zone is located 38 kilometres from the country’s overseas export hub at Port Sudan.