FRENCH shipping giant CMA CGM is pursuing plans to rebuild Beirut’s port within three years, despite a political deadlock in Lebanon, where the company has deep roots, Reuters reports.
A chemical explosion at the port killed 200 people and destroyed entire neighbourhoods, deepening Lebanon’s worst political and economic crisis in the former French colony since the 1975-1990 civil war.
CMA CGM’s plan, first outlined to Lebanese authorities in September, envisages the reconstruction of damaged docks and warehouses, along with port expansion and digitisation, at a cost of US$400 million to $600 million, said CMA CGM country manager Joe Dakkak.
“Our offer remains on the table,” he told Reuters. “Our project is a realistic one because the situation is urgent.”
On Friday, German companies presented a separate multi-billion-dollar plan to rebuild Beirut’s port and neighbouring districts, confirming a previous report by Reuters.
Mr Dakkak said the German initiative was more focused on longer-term real-estate development but CMA CGM would be willing to contribute to the port part of that project if invited to.
CMA CGM is controlled by the French-Lebanese Saade family and the group joined French President Emmanuel Macron in relief efforts in Beirut following the explosion last summer.