Infrastructure investment and counterterrorism are intertwined in the form of a planned port in Libya. The Guidry Group, which won a 30-year concessionaire agreement from the Libyan government in 2012, last month released details of a preliminary feasibility study for the Port of Susah construction, which is slated for completion in 2022.
The Guidry Group won the $1-billion project after a global solicitation for proposals by Libya’s Council of Ministers in 2012 and was selected from among a competitive field of nine international firms in 2015.
The greenfield port site will be 100 kilometers east of Benghazi and 100 km west of the Egyptian border. With a first-phase completion date of 2022, the port is intended to be a crossroads in North Africa for cargo vessels traveling to and from Asia and Europe via the Suez Canal and to and from the United States, with a capacity of handling 1 million annual containers. A free-trade zone and logistics center are included in the plan.
“This is one of the most significant infrastructure investments in Libya,” says Abdallah Hamed, general manager of Consultancy House, a nongovernmental Libyan organization. “Nationwide, this port will provide about 2,500 in employment, will bring economical and financial benefit to people living around the port and will be the first completely private seaport in Libya.”
The planned construction would include a 1,350-meter-long quay and three 400-m-long berths alongside a channel dredged to 18 m to accommodate super-sized cargo ships. One of the key goals of the project is to maximize use of the local labor force and train local management.
Guidry Group, which started in 1985 as a firm handling kidnap and ransom resolution, security services, and crisis response and management, has become increasingly focused on the development of critical infrastructure, including large-scale projects to help revive war-torn countries, says Michael Guidry, founder and chairman. “What we’re learning is how to go into a war-stricken country and come up with solutions. The whole country is really excited about the port. They see an opportunity for us to help stabilize the country,” he says.
The next steps include a full feasibility study and to finalize the concession agreement. “The goal is to have the first three berths up and running within the next two or three years,” says Guidry.
The port is just one of many infrastructure projects that Libya is planning in hopes of stabilizing its economy and society after years of conflict, notes Hamed. “Such infrastructure includes airports, refineries, pipelines that transport oil and gas resources, power stations, water treatment facilities, and roads and railways,” he says.