Dangers for Construction Companies Operating In Troubled Middle East

Libya alone was reckoned to have over 1.8 million migrant workers, of which 1.5 million were Egyptians, 60,000 Bangladeshis, Landscape Design Plans 36,000 Chinese as well as workers from the Philippines, Tunisia, Turkey and various other countries.
Many of these workers are involved in the oil, transport and telecommunications industries but a good proportion were working on construction projects. In addition to private developments, the government of Libya had committed to invest $102 billion in its infrastructure over a two-year period.
One of the countries most affected by the unrest is South Korea, which has been involved in Middle East construction projects for more than forty years. It was estimated to have 47 companies active in Libya, with 24 of them being construction firms. They are involved in construction projects said to be worth $9 billion, of which $7.9 billion remains unpaid.
Two of the biggest South Korean construction companies are Hyundai Engineering & Construction and Daewoo Engineering & Construction, which have halted work on major projects that include new power plants. Rioting has hit construction sites in Benghazi, nearby Derna and Tripoli, with vehicles being stolen or wrecked and buildings set on fire. As a result, aircraft and ships have been chartered to get workers out of the country. The South Korean construction industry is heavily dependent on Libya in particular and the Middle East in general, and so hopes the evacuation is only a temporary interruption to activities. The belief is that the area will still need contractors when the unrest finally calms down.
Although the UK has not been as heavily hit as some countries, there is increased activity in the region and an estimated A�1.5 billion annual bilateral trade between the UK and Libya. There are several Electrician Salary Union and engineering firms working in the country. These include water treatment company MWH Global, which has been working on the Great Manmade River project, reckoned to be the largest underground network of pipes and wells anywhere in the world. Consulting group Capita Symonds pulled all its staff out of Libya as soon as the trouble erupted, abandoning its work on the development of Benghazi’s Benina International Airport when the runway was bombed. One of the difficulties a lot of companies have had is locating and contacting their employees. Many of them are working at remote sites that are some distance from major centres of population. With the telephone network and the internet being under the control of the Libyan government, communication has been a major problem.
Despite the dangers, many companies have retained staff in the region and have even tried to keep operations running where possible. The belief is that there is still plenty of work to be obtained in the region and that those companies that retain a presence will be best placed to reap the benefit. This is particularly true of Libya that has huge oil reserves and a need for infrastructure development.

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