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DP World reiterates claims to Djibouti ports

Following recent reports that shipping lines Pacific International Lines (PIL) and CMA CGM are in talks with Djibouti to develop ports in Doraleh, port operator DP World has come out with a public statement asserting that its rights to operate the Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT) remain in force.

“DP World hereby gives notice that the concession agreement to operate the Doraleh Container Terminal in Djibouti, which was awarded by the Government of Djibouti to Doraleh Container Terminal SA, or DCT, a joint venture controlled by DP World, remains in full force and effect,” DP World said in a press release.

It noted that the concession agreement “conferred on DCT the right to operate the port, which it designed and built, and in turn DP World was mandated to manage the port”. Additionally, the agreement also gave DCT and DP World exclusive rights to build and operate any other container ports and free zones in Djibouti, DP World emphasised.

Amid a long-running dispute, matters came to a head in February when DP World claims the Djibouti government unlawfully seized control of the terminal, kicked out its employees and purported to terminate the agreement. DP World and DCT say they have commenced a new LCIA arbitration against the Government of Djibouti due to this unlawful seizure and purported termination.

Shortly after this in early March, Singapore-based PIL signed an agreement with DCT that would boost its volumes by 33%.

Now after local media reports that the two shipping lines are planning to develop ports in Doraleh, with an agreement that includes adding capacity to DCT and building the new Doraleh International Container Terminal (DICT) with an initial investment of $660m and first phase capacity of 2.4m teu, and plans to boost that to 4m teu eventually, DP World has re-asserted it claims.

There have been reports that the Government of Djibouti is contracting with other companies to build and operate other port facilities in Djibouti in violation of DP World and DCT’s exclusivity rights,” it said.

“Take notice that DP World and DCT are the lawful holders of rights in respect of the ownership and operation of the container shipping terminal at Doraleh, Djibouti, and will pursue all available legal recourse, including claims for damages, against any other entities that tortuously interfere or otherwise violate their rights with respect to the Concession Agreement,” DP World warned.

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