French company promises to rebuild Beirut’s port in less than three years

French company promises to rebuild Beirut’s port in less than three years

A chemical explosion at the port killed 200 people and destroyed entire neighbourhoods, deepening Lebanon’s worst political and economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

French container shipping group CMA CGM is pursuing a plan to rebuild Beirut’s port within three years, despite political deadlock in Lebanon that has prevented decisions on the port since a blast last August, a company executive said.

CMA CGM’s plan first outlined to Lebanese authorities in September, envisages the reconstruction of damaged docks and warehouses, along with port expansion and digitalisation, at a total cost estimated at $400 million to $600 million, Joe Dakkak, general manager CMA CGM Lebanon, said on Saturday.

The Lebanese flag flies next to the Beirut port silo, damaged in the August 4 explosion, as smoke billows from a huge fire there on September 10, 2020. – Clouds of dark smoke spilled into the sky above the capital, and were visible from its suburbs, after the army said the fire broke out in a warehouse containing oil and tyres. (Photo by PATRICK BAZ / AFP)

“Our offer remains on the table,” he told Reuters. “Our project is a realistic one because the situation is urgent.”

On Friday, German companies presented a separate multi-billion-dollar plan to rebuild Beirut’s port and neighbouring districts, confirming a previous report by Reuters.

Dakkak said the German initiative was more focused on longer-term real-estate development but CMA CGM would be willing to contribute to the port part of that project if invited to.

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