US federal government approves Gulftainer’s Port of Wilmington concession
The US federal government has approved a proposal to allow UAE-based port operator Gulftainer to take control of the Port of Wilmington and develop a new container port at Edgemoor.
The federal sign-off means the final terms must now be ratified by the Diamond State Port Corp., the port's quasi-public operating board.
The board already signed off on the basic terms of the agreement earlier this year.
Under the terms of the 50-year deal, the state will continue to own the land under the nearly 100-year-old Wilmington port while Gulftainer would take over operations of the facility, which sits at the confluence of the Christina and Delaware rivers.
"This is a significant step forward in finalizing our agreement with Gulftainer, which will protect and create good-paying, blue collar jobs at one of Delaware’s most important employment centres,” said Delaware governor John Carney.
State officials say the deal could double the 5,700 port and maritime-related jobs in Delaware.
Peter Richards, CEO of Gulftainer’s subsidiary GT USA, has said Gulftainer plans to pour US $73 million into the existing port through the next decade to modernise operations.
The deal also calls for the development of a new container facility on state-owned land that was home to DuPont Co.'s Edge Moor chemical production facility. That is due to be finished by the first quarter of 2024.
Richards has called it a US $400 million investment. The state bought the 114-acre property from Chemours for $10 million in 2016.
Wilmington will be Gulftainer's second U.S. port. The company won a concession for the operation of the container terminal in Port Canaveral, Florida, in 2015.
Gulftainer operates ports in the UAE, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Brazil and is a subsidiary of Crescent Enterprises, a privately held UAE conglomerate.