UAE’s Gulftainer wins 50-year concession to operate US port
The Foreign, Transnational Company says it is planning to invest $580m in the Port of Wilmington over next nine years
Terms of the agreement are to be formally approved by Diamond State Port Corporation Board and the Delaware General Assembly within the next month, a statement said.
It added that the new agreement provides Gulftainer access to one of the most strategically located marine ports in the US.
Over the next nine years, Gulftainer is planning to invest $580 million in the port, including approximately $410 million for a new 1.2 million TEU container facility at DuPont’s former Edgemoor site, which was acquired by the Diamond State Port Corporation in 2016. During this period, the company will fully develop all the cargo terminals capabilities and enhance the overall productivity of the port.
GT USA’s concession includes the full management and development of the port’s existing container volumes of 350,000 TEUs per year, which is forecast to more than double in the years to come as a consequence of this deal.
Wilmington Port, which started operations in 1923 as the first major port on the Delaware River, is the top North American port for imports of fresh fruit into the US, and has the largest dockside cold storage facility in the country, state news agency WAM reported on Saturday.
The agreement follows over a year of negotiations. Within the US, the company currently operates the Canaveral Cargo Terminal in Port Canaveral, Florida, after winning a 35-year concession in 2015.
Badr Jafar, CEO of (Crescent Enterprises) and chairman of Gulftainer’s executive board.
John Carney, Governor of Delaware, said: “With Gulftainer’s proposal, we have an opportunity to develop the overall infrastructure and potential of the port, which can lead to a direct and significant impact on our economy as a whole.”
Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises and chairman of Gulftainer’s executive board, added: “Gulftainer looks forward to be given the opportunity to work closely with the State of Delaware authorities to achieve significant enhancement across the board, from infrastructure development and capacity building to creating a sustainable source of employment and overall economic growth. We are keen to position Wilmington as the major gateway port to the US Mid-Atlantic states.”
The state of Delaware has made a preliminary agreement with the world’s largest independent, privately-owned port operator to invest more than $500 million in the Port of Wilmington over the next several years.
As part of the deal, United Arab Emirates-based Gulftainer would lease the Port of Wilmington (for next to nothing) from the state for 50 years. Gulftainer would build a new container shipping facility on the Delaware River, significantly expanding port jobs over the next decade while protecting existing positions, according to the state.
“All of us are focused on seeing the state’s investment in Edgemoor pay off,” said state Sen. David Sokola, D-Newark, who co-chairs the Joint Committee on Capital Improvement and is a member of the DSPC Board of Directors, in a statement.
“The former DuPont site is the right location – with pre-existing rail and highway links in one of the nation’s most strategic areas – and Gulftainer may turn out to be just the right investor to transform it into a global shipping destination and a major asset for Delaware’s economy. I hope to review a finalized proposal in our board meeting next week and, if it is the right deal for Delaware, I look forward to supporting the plan in the Senate.”
The Gulftainer Group currently operates 15 ports and logistics facilities all over the world, including the Port of Canaveral in Florida.
In April 2018, Rep. Hunter sent a letter to President Trump requesting that a hold be placed on Gulftainer’s Port of Wilmington deal until a full CFIUS national security review of Gulftainer’s U.S. port deals is completed.