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Although much delayed (and much anticipated), the Kuwaiti government announced in early June that the £2.3bn project to develop the strategic Boubyan island port complex northeast of Kuwait City at the confluence of waterways from both Iran and Iraq would get an important boost. A £210mn agreement between the ministry of public works and a three-company consortium led by China Harbour Engineering Company, a state-owned company with projects across Asia and Africa, has been signed.


The consortium reportedly beat 42 other bidders for the design-build contract, the first phase of which will increase accessibility to the island’s port area. The three-and-a-half year agreement will also focus on the initial construction and development of the port’s infrastructure, including a 36km three-lane bridge with the Kuwait mainland.


All told, the port project, according to a report by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, will cost around £500mn and will consist of a free trade zone, inter-modal storage area and oil depot.


Boubyan, one element of a larger £43bn plan to develop the northern region of the country, was supposed to have the first three-container berths come online this year, but the start date has now been pushed back to 2009, with five berths similarly delayed. The full development of the port, according to Oxford Business Group, will be executed in five phases over the next 16 years and, once finished, will have a planned capacity of 3.5mn TEUs.