Somalilandsun: Dubai-based port operator DP World has dismissed remarks made by Djibouti President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh regarding the “seizure of Djibouti Port” and “developments of the Port of Berbera” as being “false”.
The comments, made in an interview published in Jeune Afrique and the Africa Report “cannot be left unchallenged”, the operator said.
The dispute relates to the Doraleh Container Terminal SA (DCT), a Djibouti port operator owned 33.34 per cent by DP World Group and 66.66 per cent by state-owned Port de Djibouti.
The concession was awarded by the Djibouti government in 2006 and in February 2018, the African nation ended its contract with DP World to run the Doraleh Container Terminal, citing failure to resolve a dispute that began in 2012.
But DP World called the move an illegal seizure of the terminal and began arbitration proceedings in London.
Six substantive rulings have been made in DP World’s favour by tribunals at the London Court of International Arbitration and the High Court of England and Wales. The rulings ordered Djibouti to restore the rights and benefits under the 2006 concession agreement to DP World and Doraleh Container Terminal within two months, or pay damages.
“The claim made by the President that there is no development taking place at the Port of Berbera is false and not based on any reasonable insights the President could have. DP World has committed to investing up to $442m in improvements in Berbera which are 70 per cent complete and will increase capacity by 500,000 TEUs per year,” the statement said.
“In August this year DP World completed a new 400 metre quay and a 25-hectare yard extension of the new container terminal. New harbour cranes have been installed. The terminal is on schedule for commissioning by the end of March,” it added.
The company also reiterated that it remains the legal operator and concession holder of the DCT.
“DP World reiterates that the Djiboutian government should abide by the many court rulings and restore our full rights under the concession agreement of 2006. The implication in President Guelleh’s statement that DP World has been offered monetary compensation, but refused it, is untrue. The government has not offered DP World any compensation for this illegal expropriation of its investment,” the statement said.
“The comments made by President Guelleh shows a consistent trend in spreading rumours and false information, whilst completely disregarding international law. Despite the many assertions the President has made, no contact with DP World has ever been made by the Djiboutian authorities, nor has the government complied with any of the many prior judgments against it, including one in which the government was ordered to pay $485m to Doraleh Container Terminal for breaching its rights to exclusivity.”
DP World also added it has invested hundreds of millions of dollars and returned a profit in line with the projected target each year of operation, providing a positive return for the country.