Syria plans to spend $800 million to develop ports and ships by 2015 as it aims to benefit from the reconstruction process in neighboring Iraq, Bloomberg news reported.
The government’s five-year plan will expand the Lattakia container terminal, buy new ships, develop existing dry docks and build two new ones, Transport Minister Yarub Sulayman Badr told reporters during a conference in the coastal Mediterranean city of Lattakia on Sunday.
In the previous five-year plan, which ends this year, the government spent about $200 million on maritime infrastructure, he said.
An international consultant will be appointed to prepare tender documents for the development of the Lattakia port, its director general, Suleiman Baloush, said during the conference. He did not give a timeframe for the tendering process.
The project will aim to increase the Lattakia port capacity to 2.5 million 20-foot-equivalent container units by 2015, with a total bulk of 20 million tons per year, he said. In 2009, the port handled 625,865 containers, with a bulk of 9.56 million tons for the year, he said.
“All studies show that we need to expand Lattakia port because of the growing demand due to the reconstruction in Iraq,” he said.
Syria aims to attract as much as $55 billion in foreign direct investment over the next five years, with almost half of that earmarked for infrastructure projects, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Abdallah Dardan said Sept. 24.
The International Monetary Fund has urged Syria to quicken its transition to a market-based economy while reducing its dependence on the oil industry.
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