Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has signed a 30 year concession agreement with Abu Dhabi Ports (ADP) to establish a new container terminal in the UAE at Khalifa Port, which will become one of its primary regional hubs.
Diego Aponte, president and chief executive officer of MSC, said that after two decades of operating in the country, the company was looking forward to supporting the growth of the local maritime economy in this way. “We are confident that with this investment we will continue to ensure a high level of service for our customers and have the capacity to grow the scale of our operations in the UAE,” he added.
Under the terms of the agreement MSC will invest around AED 4 billion (US$ 1.1 billion) over the lifetime of the container terminal concession agreement. Details of the investment have yet to be made public, but it is suggested in a statement from ADP that this will initially include 13 new quayside gantry cranes and a contribution to port dredging costs, which will also enable the port to handle large bulk carriers, as well as new generation containerships. The investments planned are set to increase Khalifa port’s capacity to 5.3 million teu a year by 2020, making it one of the top 25 ports worldwide.
The deal with MSC follows on from an earlier agreement with Cosco Container Shipping Ports, which is in the process of developing a container terminal of its own at Khalifa Port. Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, ADP chief executive said, “We have successfully attracted two of the world largest companies in the field of shipping and container handling to develop a regional hub at Khalifa Port. Over the next five years, the capacity of the two container terminals at Khalifa Port will increase to more than 8.5 million teu annually.”
The benefits to ADP will start to be seen well before the new MSC terminal is officially operational, probably in 2020. The ADP statement indicates that MSC plans to gradually shift some of its container handling in the region to Khalifa Port as soon as July this year.
Captain Al Shamisi added, “The agreement with MSC comes with multiple strategic benefits to customers and companies working in shipping and logistics. This includes faster and more efficient services and easier access to more markets in the region and worldwide.”
The Port Khalifa container terminal project will be handled by MSC’s specialist subsidiary, Terminal Investments Limited (TIL), whose chief executive Ammar Kanaan has welcomed the opportunity to co-invest with Abu Dhabi Ports in further developing the port, in order to provide MSC and its shipping alliance partners with efficient terminal capacity in this strategic location.