Hapag-Lloyd’s new hub in the eastern Mediterranean


A state-of-the-art transhipment terminal with an annual handling capacity of 3.3 million TEU is being built in Damietta, Egypt. From the second half of 2024, the terminal will give Hapag-Lloyd advantages – while also benefiting its customers and Egypt. 

The site, which covers an area equivalent to 130 football pitches, still looks more like a moonscape. The first foundations are protruding from the ground here and there, earthmovers are crisscrossing the area, and a floating dredger is tirelessly pumping soil out of an adjacent basin, where a port basin is being excavated. Plans call for building a state-of-the-art container terminal in Egypt’s Port of Damietta by the second half of 2024 and ramping up operations until 2025.

The joint venture Damietta Alliance Container Terminal S.A.E. was launched to develop and operate the new Terminal 2. Its three main shareholders are Hapag-Lloyd Damietta GmbH, with a 39 per cent stake, as well as Eurogate Damietta GmbH and Contship Damietta Srl, each with a 29.5 per cent stake. In addition, two local partners, the Middle East Logistics & Consultants Group and Ship & C.R.E.W. Egypt S.A.E., each hold a one per cent stake.

The new location is of great strategic importance. Hapag-Lloyd’s transhipment operation in the Eastern Mediterranean is spread between different ports, including Greece’s Port of Piraeus and the current Damietta terminal CT1. But the new terminal will eventually give Hapag-Lloyd the option to concentrate its transshipments business in Damietta, thereby improving its competitive situation in its favour. In addition, the terminal’s location, roughly 60 kilometres from the northern outlet of the Suez Canal, is a crucial advantage. “All ships sailing between Europe and Asia, as well as important destinations in the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent, pass through Damietta almost automatically without deviating from their route,” says Matthias Müller, Senior Director of Business Administration Region South Europe, Genoa. Another advantage is the water depth of 18 metres compared to the current 14 metres found at Terminal 1. This means the new terminal can handle ships of all sizes, including the 23,500+ TEU dual-fuel ships that Hapag-Lloyd ordered.

However, the location will also be important as a transhipment terminal for distributing cargo in the eastern Mediterranean, thereby greatly enhancing access to various markets, such as Egypt’s. “In Damietta, we will also have dedicated time slots for our feeder ships,” says Marwan El Sammak, Managing ¬Director Area Egypt.

Matthias Müller, Admiral Ahmed Hawash, Damietta Port Authority Chairman, Senior Managing Director Region South Europe, Juan Pablo Richards, and Marwan El Sammak (f.l.) all agree that the new ­terminal will benefit all sides.

“When we have more services call at our new terminal in Damietta, we expect to deliver to the market a much stronger value proposition and much better connectivity; this will ensure higher customer satisfaction, and we will be much better at delivering on our customer promises being #one for quality,” El Sammak adds. Another anticipated benefit is a reduction in overall operating costs, ultimately leading to higher performance, improved productivity and more on-time handling.

The terminal will be equipped with 50 state-of-the-art rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs), half of which will be powered by electricity and 16 ship-to-shore cranes (STSs). “We put a lot of thought into what the most suitable ¬solution could be, as we naturally also had in mind Hapag-Lloyd’s and our customers’ demands for the greatest possible degree of sustainability,” Müller explains. “We have factored in that the local power supply needs to be expanded and that we might face difficulties constantly sourcing sufficient amounts of additives, such as AdBlue, for the SCR catalytic converter used in diesel operation.”

In driving its Strategy 2023, Hapag-Lloyd has continuously expanded its involvement in the terminal sector, most recently through agreements on acquiring stakes in the terminal business of Chile-based SM SAAM and the Italy-based Spinelli Group. In addition, Hapag-Lloyd has stakes in JadeWeserPort in Wilhelmshaven, the Container Terminal Altenwerder in Hamburg, and Terminal TC3 in Tangier.

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Ryan Finn
Ryan is the Digital Marketing and Content Creation Manager for Trade and Logistics Siam Ltd. He provides a creative flair to the team and his resourcefulness helps to bring an imaginative improvement to both literary archetypes and online content production. A writer by day and a rider by night, when he's not composing the latest logistics news update or creating compelling copy for our clients, Ryan spends his free time travelling Thailand by motorbike.