Mohammad Al Fayed and the ports business
It seems like Mohammad al-Fayed (of Harrod’s fame – and obviously many other ventures) was also in the port business. In 1964, he entered a deal with Papa Doc Duvalier of Haiti, whereby he invested $5 million in the harbours, established pilotage and ports, and in return was to receive the income from the port. Not sure what happened in reality, but it is fascinating to see that Fayed’s reach was so wide. He was in the deal apparently with a couple of other characters. The New York Times article states that
Other much‐discussed individuals here include an Iranian, Prince Aboubasar Azod, and an American, Georg Mohrenschild. Prince Azod has announced that he plans to organize a large tourist and industrial project in the neglected southern peninsula of Haiti. Mr. Mohrens.child is prospecting for oil and minerals. He is being compensated with a share in a government sisal Operation.
Fayed of course also had interested in the UAE, where he was part owner of Costain construction company. Costain is of interest to me because it was the firm that dredged the Jabal Ali harbour, and has also been involved in other construction work related to transport there (including airport terminals there, and also in Bahrain). Today, the Middle East connection for Costain comes via the Kuwaiti Kharafi family who own a majority stake in the firm. Costain’s website has some interesting little trivia about its work in the Middle East, including the following:
More than 10,500 drawings were needed to design the £232 million Dubai Dry Dock.
The £500 million Mina Jebel Ali port and industrial development in Dubai required Costain to dredge 107 million cubic metres of sand, sandstone and rock.