Interview: Sudan Seeks to Revive Maritime Fleet, Increase Main port Efficiency

Sudan is seeking to revive its maritime fleet and increase efficiency of Port Sudan harbor with lifting of U.S. economic sanctions, as international trade movement across the country’s main sea gate is expected to increase.

During the past two days, Sudan’s Sea Ports Corporation (SPC) inaugurated a number of projects to enhance the efficiency of Port Sudan harbor and to assimilate the movement of international trade.

The projects include transit trade with neighboring countries such as Ethiopia, Chad, Central Africa and South Sudan, which signed previous agreements with Sudan on trades through Port Sudan harbor.

“The SPC is seeking to revive its fleet and make use of the decision of lifting the U.S. sanctions on Sudan,” Dawier Hadloul Mahmoud, SPC’s general administration manager, told Xinhua in an interview Tuesday.

“The SPC has greatly been affected by the U.S. sanctions, which prevented it from obtaining spare parts and modern technologies, and negatively affected the movement of its maritime fleet and decreased efficiency of Port Sudan harbor,” he noted.

Hidop port, located on the Red Sea coast, is one of the SPC’s most important projects, specializing in livestock, fish, vegetable and fruit exports.

Mahmoud said the inauguration of Hidop port constituted a qualitative shift in the procession of Port Sudan harbor, stressing the adoption of “the principle of specialization in the work of the ports via allocating a port for livestock exports, another for passengers’ movement, a third for containers, a fourth for general commodities, a fifth for oil and so on.”

“Hidop port is expected to increase Sudan’s animal resources exports, particularly that the Sudanese Animal Resources Ministry announced a plan to export around 7 million heads of livestock during the coming year,” he added.

Hidop port is a joint project between the SPC and China Harbor Engineering Company, Mahmoud added.

According to government statistics, the new port would assimilate the great increase in the number of livestock exported from Sudan, which, until the first quarter of 2017, amounted to about 2 million heads of cattle, camel and sheep that equal 255 million U.S. dollars against 247 million dollars for the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the SPC has also inaugurated a project for maintenance of international ships which cross through Port Sudan.

“The project enhances the opportunities for indigenization of sea transport industry in Sudan,” said Mahmoud.

The beginning of the project’s work would be rehabilitation and maintenance of the SPC ships via a partnership with a Dutch company, he added.

“In the future, this strategic project will help in building a maritime fleet and indigenizing the sea transport industry in Sudan by utilizing the distinguished location of Port Sudan harbor in addition to providing safety requirements and fulfilling the security requirements of ships and harbor utilities,” noted Mahmoud.

Port Sudan harbor, which lies at the middle of the eastern coast of the Red Sea, acquires a strategic importance for the movement of Sudan’s exports and imports, where it was officially inaugurated in 1909.

The port consists of seven sub-harbors, including the northern harbor, which receives containers, the southern harbor for shipping general commodities, the green harbor for receiving ships loaded with goods, Sawakin harbor for passenger services, Al-Khair Dama Dama harbor for shipping oil derivatives, Ausaif harbor for crude iron and minerals exports, and Hidop port for animal resources and fish exports.