Suez hub zone strengthens Hong Kong links

Suez hub

The history of global trade has typically followed an evolutionary path, where ports and transportation routes have developed and declined across generations. Occasionally, however, a single date emerges as a pivotal moment, radically altering the landscape. One such date is November 17, 1869, when the opening of the Suez Canal connected the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, effectively linking the North Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean.

This development significantly reduced the travel distance for ships departing from ports like Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Mumbai on their way to Liverpool or Rotterdam. Right from its inception, this key point in global trade was associated with Hong Kong, which was then a relatively new but rapidly growing trading hub. This connection remains relevant to this day.

In a similar vein, just as Hong Kong serves as a bridge between Mainland China and the rest of the world, especially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Suez Canal sits at the crossroads of Africa, Asia, and Europe, positioning it as a potentially valuable business destination.

Much like Hong Kong and the neighboring Shenzhen Special Economic Zone have thrived, eventually becoming integral components of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Egypt has established its own counterpart in the form of the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZONE).

These two entities converged at the Belt and Road Summit in 2020, and representatives from the SCZONE visited Hong Kong in May of the current year to explore the possibility of listing a real estate investment trust (REIT) in the city.

China established the China-Egypt TEDA Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone within the Sokhna Industrial Zone along the Red Sea coast, near Egypt’s new administrative capital east of Cairo. TEDA’s projects encompass various sectors, including power generation and textiles.

A delegation from the General Authority of the SCZONE conducted a tour earlier this year, led by Mr. Waleid Gamal El-Dien, the Chairman of the Zone. This delegation visited Guangzhou and Hong Kong to engage with officials and companies involved in maritime transport and logistics services. The delegates also held discussions with representatives of property firm Hutchison Group, which entered into an agreement with SCZONE to manage and operate the container terminal at Sokhna Port.

Furthermore, the SCZONE delegation met with Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) to explore potential cooperation in offering comprehensive logistics services at the ports of SCZONE.

In matters of finance and investment, the delegation engaged in meetings with officials from CCB International (Holdings), a subsidiary of China Construction Bank, as well as representatives from CIC International (Hong Kong), the Hong Kong branch of the sovereign wealth fund that invests in foreign assets. SCZONE representatives expressed their interest in leveraging partnership services with these institutions to provide financial services to their investors.

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Joseph Clarke
Editor, International Trade Magazine
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920

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