A fisherman passes container ships in the Suez Canal, near Ismailia port city, northeast of Cairo

Egypt confirms army to help develop Suez Canal area

Egypt has confirmed rumours that a consortium including the Egyptian army will develop an industrial and logistics hub in the Suez Canal area.

In January, Egypt invited 14 consortia to bid for the development of 76,000 square kilometres around the canal, a project that was first floated several years ago but never taken further. The project also includes the building of a new channel to run alongside the existing canal.

Earlier this month sources suggested the army’s consortium had won the bid and the government today confirmed that the grouping, which also includes Bahrain-registered engineering firm Dar al-Handasah Shair and Partners, will take the project forward.

The head of the Suez Canal Authority, Mohab Memish, made the announcement at a news conference in Ismailia, a city on the banks of the canal in north west Egypt, attended by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab.

"The winning consortium to create the master plan for the Suez Canal area development project is the consortium of Dar Al Handasah Shair and Partners, which is registered in Bahrain, in alliance with Dar al-Handasah Egypt," Memish said.

The Egyptian army is a local partner in Dar al-Handasah Egypt through the Armed Forces Engineering Authority, a government source told Reuters previously.

Egypt's Gulf Arab allies have close links to the Egyptian military and have given billions of dollars in aid to the country since the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi last year.

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