Four months after the launch of the tender, the French shipping group CMA CGM, won a few days ago, a contract to manage, operate and maintain the container terminal in Beirut Port for a period of ten years.
The group announced an ambitious investment plan to renovate and modernize the terminal, to be implemented next month, according to which it will invest 33 million dollars in the port, knowing that the activity of its ships, constitutes mainly 55 percent of the volume of operations in the container terminal.
In the first reaction to this contract, the media office of Bahaa Hariri issued a statement considering that the decision of the operating contract that CMA CGM won, was not right for Lebanon and the people of Beirut, as the government, after the horrific and tragic explosion of the port, should have held public consultations on a large scale, including the families of the victims, in order to redevelop the port and build a modern city that keeps pace with modern technologies and conforms to the requirements of the twenty-first century.
The statement added that the transparency required for any tender, was not clear in this contract, especially since CMA CGM had several dealings in the past with Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
The statement stressed the need for the current political class to be held accountable, fearing that this project becomes another example of “crony capitalism” that led Lebanon to the unprecedented collapse we are witnessing today.
The statement of Bahaa Hariri’s media office concluded, that if it turns out that the process of awarding a contract for managing and operating the port just three months before the expected parliamentary elections is flawed, the next government should not hesitate to cancel it.