A German delegation of firms presented during a press conference on Friday a proposed plan to redevelop the Port of Beirut.
Elias Assouad, the head of the Lebanese-German Business Council (LGBC), said during the conference that the project involves reconstructing the Port in a way that incorporates new technological elements that are necessary to boost its capacity.
It also involves redesigning the Port’s traditional maritime work based on modern principles, in order to accelerate its work cycle.
The delegation, which arrived in Lebanon on Wednesday, includes Hamburg Port Consulting and Colliers Germany, the two firms that presented the proposal during the press conference.
The proposed plan would require an investment of about $7.2 billion and utilize some of the Port’s unused spaces to expand its activity by incorporating touristic sites, green spaces, and a museum.
It outlines utilizing part of the Bourj Hammoud Landfill to move the Port to the east, whereas the area that is currently to its west would become an urban area with new buildings, beaches, and restaurants.
The project’s future profitability is estimated at $2.5 billion that could be invested into reconstructing and redeveloping blast-damaged areas around the Port, as per the proposal.
Caretaker Public Works Minister Michel Najjar, who had met with the German delegation a day prior, told the Al-Sahm newspaper on Friday that these plans had been in development since the destruction of the Port during the August 4 explosion.
According to Najjar, the firms have considered expanding the Port in terms of the tonnage of the ships it receives, in addition to connecting it with other locations via railways heading north or south.
The official explained that as per the Design, Build, Operate, Transfer (DBOT) concept, the Lebanese state would pay nothing; “a company receives the project, pays the money, and takes the investment of the project over a few years.”
“Later, in the event that the plan is pursued, a tender would be raised about who would present the best offer in terms of DBOT, so that the project would be funded and launched.”
The official said that he had explained to the delegation that the current (caretaker) government cannot make a decision regarding these proposals.
For that, there would have to be a new government in place, as well as a new administration at the Port of Beirut, as the current administration includes a temporary committee.
Germany’s ambassador to Lebanon, Andreas Kindl, stated during the press conference that the project would not be able to gain international financing without political and economic reforms in Lebanon.