Dubai: Gulftainer hosted the signing of a sister port agreement between the Department of Seaports & Customs of the Government of Sharjah and the Diamond State Port Corporation (DSPC), a corporate entity of the State of Delaware, USA.
The two companies will cooperate in the development of international trade and logistics, exchange information, and build mutually beneficial commercial, technological and cultural synergies as part of the agreement.
It 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 Delaware-based Port of Wilmington from the Diamond State Port Corporation to Gulftainer to operate and develop the port over a 50-year concession period.
Gulftainer 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 Diamond State Port Corporation acquired in 2016.
This landmark deal represents the largest investment ever by a private UAE company in the USA.
Sheikh Khaled bin Abdullah bin Sultan Al Qasimi, chairman of the Department of Seaports & Customs, Sharjah Airport International Free Zone and Hamriyah Free Zone Authority, and Jeffrey Bullock, secretary of state of Delaware, signed the agreement at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce.
Peter Richards, group CEO of Gulftainer, and senior leadership from the Gulftainer group also attended the ceremony.
“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,” said Richards.
“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 USA, and further boosts bilateral relations between our countries,” said Badr Jafar, chairman of Gulftainer’s Executive Board.
“The agreement is a highly significant step in boosting economic ties between the UAE and the USA. We see this as a great opportunity to bolster the overall economy of Delaware through productive partnerships and the sharing of industry best practices,” added Bullock.
Gulftainer will 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 USA and has 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.