With a population of 84 million, Egypt has the largest population of all of the Arab nations, and in 2011 reported a GDP $232 billion. The country is also one of the most important emerging markets in North Africa, and its maritime shipping hub of Port Said is a vitally important transshipment center for Asian, European, and African trade.
An important milestone was achieved recently when the 15,500 TEU Eleonora Maersk and the 13,500 TEU Edith Maersk made brief visits to Port Said’s Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT) in order to test the port access and turning basins for these giant ships.
The first trial was on the Eleonora Maersk arriving from the Suez Canal’s North Bound Convoy, with a draft of 14.9 m. She berthed alongside before safely re-joining the convoy to continue her voyage to the West.
The second trial took place on Friday, 5 October, when the “Edith Maersk” approached the terminal from the North, completing a 180 degree maneuver in the turning basin. The 397 meter vessel completed this successful operation with a draft of 14.8 meters with the aid of three tug boats. This was the first time that any Egyptian port has received a vessel this size.
Klaus Laursen, CEO of SCCT commented: “This is a significant moment in Egyptian maritime history. Both trials would not have been possible without the excellent cooperation and leadership of both the Suez Canal Authority and the Port Said Port Authority.
“Maersk Line is proud of this collaborative achievement which continues its tradition of innovation and business development in Egypt” stated Simon Brown, Maersk Line Egypt’s Managing Director. “With these two successful trials, SCCT is now open for vessels with a LOA of 397 meters and beam 56.4 meters (22 containers)” added Jan Buijze, Chief Operations Officer at the Suez Canal Container Terminal.
Port Said, at the mouth of the Suez Canal on the Mediterranean Sea, is a natural transshipment center for Far Eastern cargoes destined for Southern Europe and the Mediterranean/Black Sea Region. The Suez Canal Container Terminal, located at Port Said East, is a joint venture in which APM Terminals is the majority shareholder with 55%. SCCT officially opened in December of 2004 and is one of the largest container ports on the Mediterranean Sea. An expansion project is currently under way to double its capacity to 5.4 million TEUs. Throughput at SCCT was 3.2 million TEUs in 2011 with productivity of 35 moves per hour. Additional improvements are planned at the terminal.
Today, SCCT has 18 cranes with 22 container outreach, 2,400 meters of quay, 15 meters of draft and zero deviation from the Suez Canal. Commercially, the terminal currently serves 16 of the world’s largest shipping lines.