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Port of Alexandria




The Port of Alexandria (Egypt) was founded by the pharaohs in 1900 B.C and is the main port in Egypt. It handles over three-fourths of Egypt's foreign trade. It contains two harbours separated by a peninsula; the East harbour is too shallow for navigation, and the West harbour is used for commercial shipping and trade. The Port of Alexandria covers a total area of 10.2 km2, including 2 km2 of land and 8.5 km2 of water.



 Socioeconomic impact assessment


Socioeconomic conditions refer to human beings and their characteristics, which are usually dynamic variables that differ widely within the same community and from one community to another. Generally, there is a number of broad sets of socioeconomic impacts that could be developed including economic impacts namely: demography, employment, health, and community resources including political, social, economic and cultural conditions.


Socioeconomic assessment is a way to learn about the social, cultural, economic and political conditions of stakeholders including individuals, groups, communities and organizations and identify those that may be affected by a development project or plan.


The assessment of socio-economic conditions of the study site involved collecting existing information from secondary sources. Information was examined in order to:


i) define volume and typology (e.g. cruising, boating, chartering) of marine traffic and their seasonal variation, potential pollution sources within and around the sites;


ii) conduct stakeholders analysis at the local and regional levels, to identify different stakeholders and the potentials and means of their involvement at various phases of the project.


 The City of Alexandria (Egypt)




Alexandria, with a population of approximately 4.5 million inhabitants, represents about 5.5% of the total population in Egypt in 2012 (CAPMAS, 2012). Alexandria is Egypt’s second largest city situated on the Mediterranean Sea. Its borders extend along a 70 km coastal line north-west of the Nile delta est. Alexandria’s importance is partly attributed to its strategic location in the Mediterranean Sea, which has earned its commercial and historical significance for centuries.


Today, Alexandria plays an important and vital role in the Egyptian economy and boasts huge development potentials, stemming from the city’s economic endowments, cultural heritage, human resources and the availability of vacant land to address urbanization pressures. Alexandria hosts Egypt’s oldest and largest port. The bigger part of Egypt's foreign trade passes through this port whose capacity is estimated to be 75% of the total capacity of Egypt's ports on the Mediterranean Sea. Due to the fact that through this port the percentage of the ships passing represents 55% of the total number of ships incoming to the Egyptian ports in the Mediterranean, the Egyptian government was stimulated to work on developing the port within a general strategy for developing the country's ports in accordance with the revolution in ports management witnessed all over the world.


During the period extending from May 2010 to April 2011 Alexandria port received 171 passenger ships representing about 5% of the total ships arrived at Alexandria port during the same period.


It was found that the category of pre-productive population (less than 15 years old) represents about 26% of the total population. Meanwhile, productive population in the working age (15-60 years old) represents about two thirds of the total population (66.6%). The post-productive population (60 years old or more) represents 7.5% (CAPMAS, 2012) (Figure 2).





Such an age structure, with low proportion of elder population and a relatively high proportion of young and productive population, means:


  • high levels of community productivity and availability of labor force;
  • that the community has been experiencing a relatively rapid population growth; 
  • the need for investment projects that could provide more job opportunities to absorb new entrants in the labor market.


The need for more job opportunities is emphasized by the large influx of workers commuting daily from adjacent Beheira Governorate (The World Bank, 2008).


According to the most recent estimates, about 19.47% of the total population of Alexandria are illiterate, which is less than national average illiteracy rate in Egypt, which is 29.64%. Moreover, the illiteracy rate was found to be higher among women compared with men. It is worth mentioning that a considerable portion of the population (34.32%) has a limited educational levels, those that can read and write are below intermediate level (CAPMAS, 2012). This means that about 63.78% of the total population in Alexandria is either illiterate or has limited educational levels.


In 2004, the unemployment rate was estimated at 7.1% (The World Bank, 2008), which is lower than the national average of 12% in 2012 (CAPMAS, 2012). However, such an official figure about unemployment rate is not realistic, especially when compared with unofficial statistics that suggest that unemployment rates are around 20%. This is reflected in the large proportion of labor force involved in informal sectors as seasonal or temporary labors. In general, with such a relatively considerable portion of labor force that has temporary or seasonal jobs Countries suffer from high levels of risk. Accordingly, it is expected that high levels of poverty would be prevailing.


It was estimated that more than 95% of the total population has access to clean water and wastewater services (The World Bank, 2008).


According to the economic structure of population, the majority of total labor force in Alexandria (75%) works in tertiary activities including services, trade and transportation. This is followed by manufacturing industries, which host about 23% of the total labor force. Meanwhile, primary activities including agriculture, fishing and mining host only 2% of the total labor force (Figure 3). Generally, it was estimated that 15% of the total labor force works in tourism-relevant activities such as hotels and restaurants and transportation and communications (The World Bank, 2008).  




The Governorate of Alexandria is very keen on developing the tourism cluster as it creates employment opportunities, generates greater exports, and improves the wealth of the city at a large.


Alexandria has varied archaeological and cultural assets, for example:





(a) Pompey's Pillar

(b) A Roman Amphitheatre

(c) Fort Qaitbey

Figure 4. Historical sites of unique significance in Alexandria




Despite such varied archaeological and cultural assets, Alexandria captures less than 2% of the total foreign tourists in Egypt with an average stay of 1.7 days. In this respect it was estimated that while the total number of Egyptian tourists who visited the city in 2003 was about 2 million people, the total number of non-Egyptian tourist was 118.890 (The World Bank, 2008).


This can be attributed to a number of reasons such as insufficient hotel accommodation capacity, which was estimated as much as 3.400 rooms (The World Bank, 2008).


Also, in 2004, hotel arrivals reached 389.233 and bed-nights 675.494. Both, domestic and international hotel clients have a very short average length of stay of only 1.7 days. In this respect it was suggested that the expenditure of hotel clients could increase significantly if length of stay increased and more cultural and recreational activities were introduced.






The socioeconomic analysis of Alexandria study site highlights a wide range of issues relevant to tourism activities, for instance:  


  • the need to extend and diversify tourism facilities and their accommodation as a prerequisites for any tourism development in the future;
  • existence of some historical sites of unique significance, that are highly vulnerable to adverse impacts of any development schemes. Therefore, such sites should be preserved as assets for tourism activities;
  • low proportions of foreign tourists and short average length of their stay;
  • limited contribution of the port of Alexandria to the tourism activities in the city.


Meanwhile, there are some opportunities or positive aspects such as:


  • existence of varied archeological and historical tourism assets;
  • economy mainly based on local summer tourism, while international tourism potentials in Alexandria is still to be capitalized on; 
  • development of tourism activities in Alexandria may support the economy of the city through the creation of more job opportunities, generation of higher export levels, and improvement of the wealth of the city at large scale.


Based on the socioeconomic characterization on the study site, the DPSIR approach was employed to identify driving forces, pressure, states, impacts and response.


According to such an assessment, DPSIR analysis of tourism development of study site is as follows:

  • Driving forces
    • the need for tourism revenues,
    • tourism development and increasing number of tourists.
  • Pressure
    • increasing demand for marine transportation,
    • developing new tourism facilities and infrastructure (in port area and its surroundings),
    • the need for more power and water supplies.
  • States
    • quality of water and marine environment within the port area,
    • living standards in the port surrounding,
    • income levels and economic structure,
    • historical and archeological sites of unique significance.
  • Impacts
    • deteriorating quality of marine environment,
    • pressure on existing services and infrastructures,
    • substandard living conditions,
    • providing more job opportunities,
    • reduced rate of unemployment and poverty,
    • damage of areas of unique significance.
  • Responses
    • allocate more investments on services and infrastructure provision,
    • promoting the private sector participation,
    • developing an EMS (Enviromental Management System) in the port area,
    • setting a tourism development strategy
    • attract more tourists. 




Stakeholders’ levels of involvement


The stakeholders group in case of Alexandria port can be classified, according to their interests, power and influence, into four levels of involvement (Figure 4). It is clear that the key stakeholders group that should be managed closely and highly involved in the project activities is the Port Authority. Meanwhile, both Egyptian Navy and Maritime Transportation Sector (Ministry of Transportation) should be kept satisfied due to their high power and influence. 






[1] By Flickr user: Tinou Bao  CC-BY-2.0 














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