Dubai Ports Authority (DPA) signed a 20-year contract on Monday to manage and operate the port of Djibouti, during a visit to the Gulf emirate by Djibouti's President Ismael Omar Guellah.
It was DPA's third international port management contract, after Beirut and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
Djibouti president, during a signing ceremony at Dubai's Jebel Ali port, stressed "the excellent location" of his country on East-West shipping routes and as a gateway to Africa.
Djibouti's underused 15-berth Red Sea port, serving a potential market of 380 million people on the Horn of Africa, can handle between 300,000 and 400,000 containers a year but its 1999 traffic amounted to only 120,000 containers.
DPA will use its contacts with shipping lines to develop Djibouti port, its managing director, Sultan bin Sulayem, told reporters, without disclosing the financial terms of the contract.
Bin Sulayem said, however, that Djibouti's expansion would not be at the cost of Port Sudan, for which DPA also hopes to win a concession. "There is enough business for everyone," he said.
Guellah, meanwhile, said that competition with the ports of Aden in Yemen and Jeddah would benefit customers - (AFP)
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