Press Releases

IFC Supports Egyptian Private Port Operations

In Washington, D.C.:
Ann Pasco

Phone: (202) 473-9167


Washington, D.C., May 3, 2004—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, will provide a $20 million loan to the Sokhna Port Development Company (SPDC).  IFC’s funding will help finance SPDC’s investments in equipment and civil works at the Sokhna Port located along the Red Sea.

SPDC operates the Sokhna Port under a 25-year concession agreement awarded by the Government of Egypt in 1999.  The Sokhna Port is the first fully private port operating in Egypt.  It is a modern deep water facility capable of handling post-panamax vessels and provides ships serving the Cairo area with an alternative to Mediterranean ports.  Located at the southern entrance of the Suez Canal, the Sokhna Port allows vessels to load and unload their cargo destined to and from Egypt and turn around without having to cross the Suez Canal.  SPDC uses an electronic-data-interchange-based customs clearance process that significantly reduces the time required for customs clearance, and hence transportation costs, compared to other Egyptian ports.  

“IFC’s investment in SPDC will support the development of a modern port facility that has the potential to become a major gateway for Egypt’s growing trade with Asia and North Africa.” said Francisco Tourreilles, Director of IFC’s Infrastructure department.  He added, “This project will have a significant development impact for Egypt, not only through the provision of efficient port services, but also by transforming Egypt’s port sector through the introduction of private competition.”

Sami Haddad, IFC's Director for Middle East and North Africa, noted, “IFC’s financing supports Egypt’s efforts to encourage private sector participation in infrastructure projects. IFC’s investment will have a strong demonstration effect by encouraging international investors to work with, and extend private financing to, strong local companies such as SPDC.”

Captain Ossama Al Sharif, Chairman and Managing Director of SPDC, commented, “We are delighted to be working with IFC on this project. IFC’s ability to provide long-term debt financing tailored to the project’s cashflows would allow us to develop the Port knowing that our capital structure is in place for the long run.”

The mission of IFC ( is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY03, IFC has committed more than $37 billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC's worldwide committed portfolio as of FY03 was $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants in loan syndications.