Doraleh Container Terminal
The Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT) is a major port facility in the Port of Doraleh, Djibouti, strategically located along the Red Sea and near the Gulf of Aden. In February 2018, following a dispute between the government of Djibouti and the Dubai-based shipping firm DP World, the government nationalized the terminal.
Construction and capacity
The DCT was built by the Dubai shipping company DP World after securing a 2006 30-year contract by Djibouti, and opened in 2009. The contract was one of a number won by DP World in the region, including one in Berbera, Somaliland.
The DCT's quay is 1050 meters with 18 meters depth, and can hold 1.25 million TEU. The facility also operates eight Super-post-Panamax container cranes. An ENOC petroeum terminal is located adjacent to the DCT. The terminal is the largest employer in Djibouti and its largest source of revenue.
As of 2015, the DCT was described as the most technologically advanced container terminal on the African continent.
The port is called by major shipping services in the region, including:
- OCEAN Alliance Red Sea Express 2
- Maersk Line Horn of Africa
- Maersk Line MECL
- MSC Australia Express
- CMA CGM and Hapag-Lloyd EPIC1/IPAK
- CMA CGM Mona Express
- CMA CGM and Emirates Swahili Express
- CMA CGM and COSCO India Middle East Mediterranean Express
- PIL Red Sea Gulf Service
- COSCO and Yang Ming Red Sea Express
Djibouti-DP World conflict
In 2014 the Djibouti government accused DP World of bribing the port authority Abdourahman Boreh, and stated the operating contract was unfair. A London commercial court cleared Boreh of misconduct in 2016. In 2017, a tribunal at the London Court of International Arbitration threw out a claim by the Djibouti government that DP World's agreement was unfair, and ordered the government to pay DP World damages. The London court was led by English jurists Lord Leonard Hoffman and Sir Richard Aikens.
Al-Jazeera has reported that according to its sources, relations between the UAE-based company and Djibouti were strained after Djibouti denied the UAE permission to build a military base on its territory. Relations worsened after the UAE offered to build another base in Somaliland, weakening the competitiveness of the Djibouti port.
In November 2017, Djibouti passed legislation allowing it to renegotiate contracts related to strategic infrastructure. In February 2018, on the order of president Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, the Djibouti government seized the facility and placed it under the control of the government-owned Doraleh Container Terminal Management Company. The government stated that the DP World contract violated Djibouti's sovereignty. In response, DP world began a new arbitration case in London against the termination of their 30 year contract to manage the port to secure "compensation for their breach or expropriation." The Djibouti government stated it would engage in "normal compensation procedures" to pay for the nationalization.
The nationalization has occurred as the United Arab Emirates has expanded its influence, included through military bases, around the Red Sea and East Africa. At the intersection of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, and located next to the Bab el-Mandeb strait, Djibouti occupies a strategic position, and hosts U.S., Chinese, French and Italian military bases.
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