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DP World wins latest judgement in HK court over Djibouti concession

Photo: Bill Oxford - Unsplash Judge's gavel in court
DP World has won the latest in a string of court rulings in an ongoing dispute over Djibouti’s Doraleh Container Terminal.

The Hong Kong Court of Appeal has dismissed the latest request by China Merchants Ports Holdings seeking permission to file a second appeal before the Court of Final Appeal, against its previous decision that DP World’s suit against the company should be heard before Hong Kong Courts – and not the courts of Djibouti.

DP World and joint venture company Doraleh Container Terminal are bringing multi-billion dollar claims against China Merchants Port Holdings, alleging that it induced the government of Djibouti to expel DP World from the country and hand over the Doraleh terminal to China Merchants. 

China Merchants Port Holdings investments in other ports and free zone projects in Djibouti, in breach of DP World’s exclusivity rights, will also be examined.

China Merchants Port Holdings argued that the case should be heard by the Djibouti courts, despite Hong Kong being its home jurisdiction.

The High Court of Hong Kong found that the case should proceed in Hong Kong and ordered China Merchants Port Holdings to pay DP World’s legal costs.

The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal against that decision and has now refused to grant China Merchants Port Holdings permission to file a second appeal before the Court of Final Appeal.

The London Court of International Arbitration (ICIA) decided in January 2022 against the Republic of Djibouti awarding interim compensation of $200M for damages caused between 23 February 2018 to 31 December 2020.

Damages due to DP World now amount to $686.5m, plus accruing interest, while the concession itself remains legally in force.