Proposed Susah Seaport Aims to Boost Economy, Will Not Endanger Cyrene Antiquities – Al Marsad

Eastern Libyan Port authorities and US firm Guidry Group plan to finalise agreement to develop a major deepwater sea port in Susah. As well as creating jobs, the port is expected to boost the economy of the cities in the eastern part of Libya and the entire country. In an exclusive statement to Al Marsad, Al-Hasi said the proposed plans would not endanger the antiquities at Cyrene.

[Libya, 9 July 2019] – Salah al-Hasi, Head of Libyan Ports Authority in eastern Libya, and chair of the committee supervising the development and construction of Susah Seaport said that the Interim Government is preparing to establish a major seaport in Susah, in eastern Libya. The project, which will be implemented with the US firm Guidry Group, will mark the beginning of reviewing proposals regarding upgrading existing Libyan seaports or building new harbours. The signing of the pact to build the Susah-based port would represent a much-needed investment in the country.

Final Stages of Agreement

Al-Hasi said that the Libyan side is negotiating the final stage of the agreement with the Guidry Group, and is currently reviewing the draft. He added that the selection of the Susah seaport is due to several criteria, most importantly the wharves are deep enough to anchor the largest types of cargo and passengers’ vessels in the world, with ship draught reaching 15 meters. The second criterion is the geographical location as the eastern coastal city of Susah is the closest navigational point for ships passing from the Suez Canal to the Strait of Gibraltar, which gives a great advantage to the site.

The Head of Libyan Ports Authority in eastern Libya said that the project completion period is three years and that the Guidry Group was awarded the development project based on a robust bid by the US-based firm. Although the deal is yet to the signed, according to al-Hasi 90% of the due diligence is done and the Libyan authorities are reviewing the final agreement details.

Al-Hasi also revealed that most Libyan ports are in dire need of rehabilitation and upgrading and that the Libyan side welcomes any proposals in that direction.

Stimulating Business and Investment in Libya

The Guidry Group was given permission by Libya’s Ministry of Transport to conduct a study of the port in Susah in 2012, with site studies being conducted in 2013 and in 2015. The feasibility study for the project was completed in 2017 and the Guidry Group published the preliminary general plans at the time.

Preliminary architectural rendering of what the planed deepwater port at Susah, Libya may look like. (© Guidry Group)

It completed its feasibility study of the project in 2017 and the group publicised its general plans for the Susah Port. The project was named among the Top 100 Critical Infrastructure Projects of the Year at the 11th Global Infrastructure Forum held in Montreal, Canada, and was a finalist for Project of the Year.

According to a report published by The Libya Herald, ‘the multi-purpose container port and logistics hub would be the largest deep-sea port in the region and is projected to handle 1 million TEU’s in phase one.” According to the Guidry Group the goal was to “stimulate business, help end terrorism, and reinforce elements of a successful country to assist in reviving war-torn Libya.’’ Adding that the proposed port would ‘‘improve the human condition, breathe economic life into the region, and help position Libya as a major economic gateway for North Africa trade and commerce’’.

No Threat to Cyrene Antiquities

Susah is a town founded on the ruins of Appolonia, which was one of the Pentapolis with Cyrene as the main city. Susah is therefore blessed with a number of important antiquity sites dating from the Greek and Byzantine periods. Given its proximity to the heritage at Cyrene, critics accused the proposed port at Susah would endanger Ptolemaic era ruins could be damaged if the port develops a new coastal road from Susah to Benghazi.

Ancient Appolonia (modern day Susah).

The port planners have allayed such fears and assured that the port would be built 5 km outside Susah.

In an exclusive statement to Al Marsad today Salah al-Hasi, Head of Libyan Ports Authority in eastern Libya, said: “Regarding the archeological sites and their proximity to the site targeted for the construction of the port project, we have a document from the Antiquities Authority stating their full support for the port project and assures that there are no important historical sites in the designated area.”

© Al Marsad English. 2019.