Lebanese firm launches project to rebuild Beirut port

Lebanese architect Charbel Abou Jaoudé has a US$ 5-billion plan to redevelop the area devastated by two explosions. It includes a 2,200-metre-long cruise terminal, a fishing port, storage area, and a 160-metre tower. France and Germany are also interested in the reconstruction.

Beirut (AsiaNews/OLJ) – The first proposals to rebuild the Port of Beirut are beginning to emerge. The facility was the scene of a double explosion on 4 August, which claimed hundreds of lives and caused huge devastation.

The prospect of billions of dollars in business has attracted local and international players, to revive a sector of vital economic importance to the Lebanese capital, while the investigation into the disaster continues but with no results so far.

One of the first projects is by Lebanese architect Charbel Abou Jaoudé, under the National Rescue Congress, an association founded in October 2019 to which he belongs.

His US$ 5-billion project would redevelop part of the area. It would include a 2,200-metre-long cruise terminal, triple the dock area, install giant cranes, and build a fishing port, storage areas, and a 160-metre tower to accommodate the port administration, a museum, and a restaurant.

The goal is to increase twelvefold the port's revenues, which stood at US$ 230 million in 2018, the last year before the crisis, thus preventing Lebanon from lagging behind its main regional competitors: Israel (Ashdod and Haifa with connection to Jordan) and Syria (Tarsus)

The project by Charbel Abou Jaoudé's firm is similar to another presented at a webinar centred on a study published by the World Bank in January titled Reforming and Rebuilding Lebanon's Port Sector : Lessons from Global Best Practices.

On that occasions, participants stressed the need to develop other Lebanese ports following a national and regional strategy, with the aim of improving governance and profitability.

Analysts and experts note that competition over reconstruction will be close, given the expected volume of business and the number of investors from around the world interested in the project.

The objectives of the work include extending the port area, modernising customs and improving connections to the dry port in Taanayel, in the Bekaa.

France and Germany are also interested in the reconstruction work. However, both have set as a precondition the resolution of Lebanon’s political crisis, which has prevented for months the formation of a new government called to launch reforms that would lead to economic growth.