Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

CMA CGM group takes the helm of the container terminal of the Port of Beirut for ten years

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Thursday, February 17th 2022 à 16:05 | Read 545 times

In March 2022, CMA CGM will become the concessionaire of the container terminal of the Port of Beirut (Photo: CMA CGM)
In March 2022, CMA CGM will become the concessionaire of the container terminal of the Port of Beirut (Photo: CMA CGM)
LEBANON / FRANCE. CMA Terminals has won the tender for the concession of the Port of Beirut container terminal awarded by the Temporary Management and Operation Committee of the Port of Beirut (GEPB). In its press release, published on Thursday 17 February 2022, the 100% subsidiary of the Marseille-based CMA CGM group specifies that 'operations will start in March 2022 for a period of ten years, with a target of 1.4 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent containers)'.

CMA Terminals will manage, operate and maintain the facility.

CMA CGM, the world's third largest maritime operator, knows the port well, not only because it was created in Lebanon by the Saadé family in 1978, but also because it handles nearly 55% of the volume of its container terminal. The group ensures nine weekly calls in Beirut.

The company is planning a $33m (€29m) investment plan, including $19m (€16.7m) over the first two years, to renovate and modernise the terminal. This package includes a complete overhaul of the equipment (rehabilitation, replacement, acquisition of new port equipment), the construction of a new technical hangar for maintenance and the storage of spare parts, the digital transformation of the terminal (implementation of the most advanced systems for the management, optimisation and interconnection of operations and the various operators in the port community), and the search for environmental performance, particularly through the acquisition of less polluting equipment.

"An ambitious investment plan"

CMA Terminals succeeds the private consortium Beirut Container Terminal Consortium (BCTC), composed of Portia Ports Limited, International Port Management Beirut SAL and Logistics and Port Management Americas, which had managed the terminal since 2005. The CMA CGM subsidiary was up against Gulftainer, an operator from the United Arab Emirates associated with a local businessman, Antoine E. Amatoury.

"True to our commitments to Lebanon, we will very quickly launch an ambitious investment plan that will make the Beirut container terminal an efficient terminal that meets the best international standards. It will serve the Lebanese people and pave the way for a renewal of economic exchanges between Lebanon and the rest of the world," said Rodolphe Saadé, CEO of CMA CGM.

The CMA CGM group had already acquired in 2021 all the shares of the operator of the Tripoli terminal (in the north of Lebanon), the country's second largest commercial port. It has nearly 1,000 employees in Lebanon and intends to hire 400 more in the next twelve months.

The Marseilles-based company has invested in fifty-two port terminals in thirty-three countries and operates thirty-three terminals worldwide through its wholly-owned subsidiary CMA Terminals, founded in 2012, and Terminal Link, a joint venture created in 2001 and owned 51% by CMA CGM and 49% by China Merchants Port Holdings Company Limited (CMPORT).

A port to be rebuilt
The Port of Beirut was created in its modern form in June 1887 and was partially destroyed on 4th August 2020 after the double explosion in an ammonium nitrate depot (over 200 dead and hundreds injured). Its container traffic has dropped sharply since the disaster and the institutional and societal problems in Lebanon, to half of its 2019 level of 700,000 TEU in 2021. With a surface area of 1,002 km², four basins and sixteen giant cranes, it is one of the largest in the Eastern Mediterranean.


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