Beirut, May 16, 2023: RDCL welcomed a delegation from the World Bank at its headquarters in Beirut, on May 15, 2023. The delegation was formed of Mrs. Anne-Cecile Souhaid, Lead Transport Specialist, Mr. Marc Juhel, Port Specialist, Mrs Mira Morad, Senior Transport Specialist, Mrs Gaelle Samaha, Transport Specialist, Mr. Claude de Baissac, Economist, and their technical consultants Mr. Eric Smit, Director at Royal Haskoning DHV and Mr. Ramy El Khoury, their local partner.
RDCL was represented by its President Nicolas Boukather, Vice-president Cyrille Arida, board members Hadia Minkara, Chrystelle Boustany, Roula Zahar, Jean Tawile, Nadim Daher, Fateh Bekdache, member Mourad Aoun, the association’s general manager Kamal Abi Fadel, and Jamil Ramadan President of the certified customs clearing agents.
Mr. Nicolas Boukather, President of RDCL, presented the ASPIRE project, that proposes a recovery roadmap for Lebanon covering numerous key sectors. He evoked the creation of a touristic port that would be connected to the capital, and which will form a major Mediterranean destination. He further insisted on preserving the victims’ memorial at its same present location, in addition to the silos, in sign of remembrance to the victims and respect to the will of their parents and families. Furthermore, he insisted on the vision of the digitization of port activites to facilitate operations and increase competitiveness, in addition to the proper governance model that should be enacted with a new law.
Boukather also suggested to the delegation to coordinate with important private sector players in the port sector the activities planned around the new suggested port activities. This will create synergy with stakeholders and complementarity with existing ports of Lebanon, including dry ports in the Bekaa valley for example. He lastly reminded of the urgent need for an effective implementation of the PPP model and the importance of using sustainable, efficient, and green energy for port activities.
The present RDCL members presented to the delegation the association’s strategic document on trade facilitation. In the same line, RDCL suggested to continue stakeholders’ engagement for the project of the renovation and restructuring of the port zones, knowing that this important project is facing serious challenges that impede its swift implementation. RDCL shared its belief that time is of essence, as the port constitutes literally the economic beating heart of the private sector.
From its end, the World Bank delegation discussed with the RDCL members the draft recommendations for various economic clusters for the future Port of Beirut, as well as the preservation of a memorial area. The delegation considered this meeting as a very important opportunity to exchange on these options and encourage the private sector to engage on the development and reconstruction of the port in a dynamic and inclusive manner to ensure that the port plays a catalytic role in the economic recovery of Lebanon.
Both parties agreed that this meeting will be followed up with round tables, that will be organized with the concerned parties from the private sector.