Thursday, October 18, 2018

Middle Eastern Port Management and Logistics Group Extends its Influence in the US

Privately Owned Container Handling and 3PL Company Ties Up 50 Year Deal
Shipping News Feature
UAE – US – UAE based port operator and logistics company, Gulftainer, has signed a 'sister' port agreement between the Department of Seaports & Customs of the Government of Sharjah, UAE and the Diamond State Port Corporation (DSPC), a corporate entity of the State of Delaware, twinning the organisation's after a deal putting the Port of Wilmington under the direct control of the privately owned Middle Eastern port management and third party logistics (3PL) group had been completed.

Under the terms of the partnership, the two entities are mandated to cooperate in the development of international trade and logistics, exchange information, and build mutually beneficial commercial, technological and cultural synergies. The agreement also enables private companies within the catchment area of the respective port authorities to collaborate on trade and investment prospects.

The signing took place following the official handover of the Port of Wilmington, which sits on the banks of the Delaware River some 50 kilometres from Philadelphia, from the Diamond State Port Corporation to Gulftainer to operate and develop the port over a 50-year concession period. Secretary of State of Delaware, Jeffrey Bullock, said:

“The agreement is a highly significant step in boosting economic ties between the UAE and the US. We see this as a great opportunity to bolster the overall economy of Delaware through productive partnerships and the sharing of industry best practices.”

Gulftainer says it plans to invest US$580 million in developing the cargo terminal capabilities of the Port of Wilmington to enhance its overall productivity. The company’s remit includes the construction of a new 1.2 million TEU container facility worth approximately US$410 million at DuPont’s former Edgemoor site that DSPC acquired in 2016.

According to Gulftainer, this deal represents the largest investment ever by a private UAE company in the US and follows the company policy of a ‘partnering process’. Badr Jafar, Chairman of Gulftainer’s Executive Board, commented:

“In line with Gulftainer’s commitment to generating cross-border socio-economic impact across the globe, this sister-port agreement facilitates strategic trade and knowledge exchange between the UAE and the US, and further boosts bilateral relations between our countries.”

Gulftainer plans to also establish an onsite training centre for the ports and logistics industries that is expected to train up to 1,000 people every year once it reaches full capacity. Having begun operations in 1923 as the first major port on the Delaware River, the Port of Wilmington is the top North American port for fresh fruit imports into the US and lays claim to having the largest dockside cold storage facility in the country.

In the US, Gulftainer currently operates the Canaveral Cargo Terminal in Port Canaveral in the state of Florida after winning a 35-year concession in 2015. Among other sectors, the company provides logistics services to the US space industry and all five branches of the US military. Group CEO of Gulftainer, Peter Richards, said:

“Gulftainer is proud to be part of this historical moment for the UAE-US trade alliance. The strengthening of diplomatic relations between our two nations has set the stage for promising business opportunities in the years ahead.”