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16 Apr 2018

Somalia can’t interfere in DP World’s port deal: Somaliland minister

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"Berbera (Somaliland): “Had you come a day earlier, you’d have seen us loading camels onto ships heading to the Middle East. Somalia as a whole has the world’s largest number of camels, at six million,” said Ali Esmail Mahmoud, Head of Operations at DP World Berbera, as he took visiting journalists on a tour of the port. “Since DP World took over the running of the port, there have been many changes,” Mahmoud said. “We’ve added a lot of equipment. We’ve ordered three mobile harbour cranes. Six reach stakers have been added, with three more on the way, along with empty container handlers, mobile cranes, internal terminal vehicles and forklifts.” He also said the port was using a new software, Sodiaz, which is also used in many other DP World ports. “People were trained on the software outside the country, including in Thailand.” In 2016, the Somaliland parliament voted in favour of granting DP World, the world’s fourth biggest port operator, a 30-year concession with an automatic 10-year extension for the management and development of the port at Berbera, in a move not recognised by the Federal Republic of Somalia. As per the deal, DP World will invest $442 million (Dh1.62 billion) in the port, controlling a 51 per cent stake in the project while the Somaliland government will control 30 per cent. As part of another deal announced last month, Ethiopia will become a 19 per cent stake holder in the port. That deal was also bitterly opposed by the Somali government in Mogadishu. Speaking to journalists, Somaliland’s Foreign Minister Dr Sa’ad Ali Shire said no one had the authority to interfere in a deal between Somaliland and DP World. “This is an economic and commercial deal that will benefit everyone in the Horn of Africa region. Somalia’s claims are baseless, and don’t change anything on the ground.” Somaliland is a self-declared independent republic that is not recognised by the international community but has all the trappings of a state, including its own parliament, judiciary, currency and armed forces. It also holds elections that are seen as being free and fair, and issues its own passports. The government of the region sees Somaliland as the successor state to the colonial-era British Protectorate of Somaliland. Somaliland is also far more politically and economically stable than Somalia. The port provides jobs to 780 local people. And has clearly benefited the economy of the region; the construction sector has been given a fillip due to the planned expansions and improvements already made to the port. “Land in the area is also going up in value,” Mahmoud said. “The infrastructure in the region is improving and many companies are coming here to do business.” The port’s annual capacity is 150,000 TEUs-twenty-foot equivalent units (container); 15 million MT (general cargo, bulk, ad break bulk); and 4 millon heads (livestock). Land in the area is also going up in value. The infrastructure in the region is improving and many companies are coming here to do business” - Ali Esmail Mahmoud | Head of Operations at DP World Berbera DP World Berbera also provides assistance to the tune of $4800 a month to the nearby Berbera Maritime and Fisheries Academy, which was established in 2012 and has graduated 85 students, including 12 women. The port has also donated $770,181 in the past 12 months to educational institutions, mosques and hospitals in the region and built five water wells for the community. Mahmoud added: “We are currently working on a three-phase basis: Phase zero, phase one, and phase two. As part of phase zero, we are developing the existing terminal. We’ve made many changes, including to infrastructure, electricity, training facilities etc. Phase one begins in five months, and is expected to be completed in 2020.”"

16 Apr 2018

New freight station opens at Khalifa port

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"Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) and Abu Dhabi Ports have announced the opening of a new freight station which will reduce trucking of EGA’s aluminium within Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD) by over 290,000 kilometres per year. The new facility has been built close to EGA’s Al Taweelah site to load metal into containers for transfer onto ships for export, according to the statement issued by the two companies on Tuesday. Last year EGA shipped some 600,000 tonnes of aluminium from Khalifa Port, requiring over 17,000 truck movements from EGA’s site to the quayside."

13 Apr 2018

Firefighting continues on Maersk Honam as it is towed to Dubai

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"MSC has advised shippers and freight forwarders with cargo on the fire-stricken Maersk Honam that the vessel remains under tow for Dubai. There was substantial number of Maersk’s 2M alliance partner’s boxes on the vessel, which was deployed on an Asia-Mediterranean service. “Maersk Honam’s current position halfway between Muscat and Karachi, in the northern Arabian Sea. The vessel is still being towed to anchor at Jebel Ali, where cargo will be off-loaded,” it said in a customer advisory. It added that “firefighting and cooling operations are ongoing, with various hotspots remaining”. The continuing delay in docking the vessel, largely due to the ongoing firefighting, means shippers must continue to wait for information on the condition of their cargo, or what general average (GA) and security bonds they will need to prepare. “We will only be able to clarify the situation once the cargo has been discharged and inspected, but we can now provide to the owners of cargo stored in the holds 1 to 3 some certificate of total loss if requested,” said MSC. “For the other cargoes, insurers should prepare the required GA and salvage security bonds (when supplied by the general average adjusters), as those documents will be essential for the cargoes to reach their final destinations and be released under general average. “As the salvage operations are still ongoing, the general adjuster is not yet in position to finalise his request for salvage security bonds, but we will relay them to you as soon as known.”"

06 Apr 2018

Saudi Arabia threatens to make Qatar 'an island' with canal project

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Saudi Arabia is considering building a canal across its border with Qatar, effectively making the peninsular state an island, a Saudi newspaper has claimed. Sabq newspaper claimed that planners are still waiting for official permission to begin construction of a canal, but the project could be completed in just a year at a cost of $750 million. Designs suggest it would be 60km in length, 200 metres wide and between 15 and 20 metres deep, cutting Qatar off from its southern neighbour. The alleged maritime channel between the Salwa and Khawr al-Udayd regions of Saudi Arabia would effectively end land trade with Qatar and also allow shipping to bypass the emirate. Saudi Arabia launched a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar last June, along with its regional allies - the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. The blockade has been widely condemned as illegal. The canal project would appear to be an attempt to further tighten the blockade on Qatar and attempt to take trade away from the emirate. It would be able to handle tankers and container ships with plans to turn the area into a "unique" industrial and economic hub with a number of ports lining the waterway. The newspaper also said there were plans for resorts along the banks of the canal and facilities to allow cruise ships to dock. Bizarrely, the region would also include a military zone with a one kilometre exclusion zone running along the border with Riyadh's regional rival, Qatar. "[The canal] will nullify all the land borders, and it will be purely Saudi territories for a length of 1km from the official border with the State of Qatar. This will make the terrestrial area adjacent to Qatar a military zone for protection and monitoring," Saudi Gazette reported.

31 Mar 2018

UAE cracks down on ship owners who abandon seafarers

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"The Federal Transport Authority (FTA) for Land and Maritime has started cracking down on ship owners abandoning and ill-treating seafarers. The authority has banned all ships belonging to a shipping company, which did not protect seafarers’ rights, from operating in the UAE waters. The ban on ships belonging to Venous Ship Management and Operation LLC based in Fujairah was announced in a circular [No (9) 2018] issued to ports authorities, harbour masters, ship agents and seafarers. “Ships belonging to Venous Ship Management and Operation LLC, or belonging to the owners of the said company, are banned from operating in UAE ports and waters, or anchoring in UAE waters,” said the circular signed by Hessa Bint Ahmad Al Malek, executive director, Marine Transport, FTA. The authority also warned all seafarers and ship agents against dealing with this company or other companies owned by the same owners. Tweeting a copy of the circular, the Indian Consulate in Dubai thanked the FTA. “Happy that action has been taken against M/s Venous Ship Management on whose ship (Athens 99) several Indian sailors faced grave hardship,” the mission posted. Speaking to Gulf News, Consul-General of India in Dubai Vipul said: “It is a very welcome step. It will act as a deterrent to other companies ill-treating sailors.” He said the consulate had coordinated with the FTA to repatriate some of the distressed Indian crew members of Athens 99. “Their salaries are still pending.” Incidentally, the same company had been blacklisted by the consulate when it issued an advisory in July 2017 against unscrupulous shipping companies and agents following the huge number of complaints received from Indian seafarers in distress in the UAE waters. In a first, the mission had named and shamed repeated offenders so that sailors do not fall into trouble with them again. The consulate had also advised the sailors to apply due diligence before accepting an employment offer to work on ships and not to get recruited through unscrupulous agents. Vipul hoped that similar action will be taken against all the companies that have repeatedly violated rules and abandoned seafarers by not providing them salaries and essential supplies. To curb such practices, the FTA had last month made insurance coverage for sailors mandatory so that they will be compensated in case of delayed payments and abandonment by ship owners as well as for death and injuries during work."

25 Mar 2018

"Qatar NDS2 seen boosting Hamad Port performance, lowering cost of services "

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"The recent launching of Qatar’s 2nd National Development Strategy (NDS2) 2018-2022 will help boost the performance of Hamad Port and lower the cost of services offered by the Qatar Ports Management Company (Mwani Qatar), an official has said. According to Mwani strategy and business development manager Jabor Ali al-Sulaiti, the company is keen on optimising its services, which include lowering freight costs and improving other services. The move was part of Mwani’s efforts to address the challenges raised by various businesses during a seminar held recently at the Qatar Chamber titled ‘Challenges Facing Services Provided by Government Bodies to the Privates Sector’. “Hopefully, within one year of implementing the new national development plan, we can see a huge difference in the performance of the port and this would be reflected on the prices of the services that Mwani provides,” al-Sulaiti told reporters on the sidelines of the seminar. To lower freight costs, al-Sulaiti said Mwani and other government agencies have tapped other shipping lines to establish new maritime trade links. He noted that the prices of services offered at the port “are less than the regional benchmark.” “We are also communicating with shipping lines to reduce their trip time and on taking over the upper Gulf transshipment to be loaded in Hamad Port, and would go via feeder to the upper Gulf. I think that would assist in lowering the prices of freight because vessels need not go to the upper Gulf. The price of the feeder is not that high. “And by having long-term contracts, or MoUs, with these shipping lines, I think we can reduce cost, and that would be reflected on the market here. We are working on that…we are communicating with Qatar Chamber regarding any comments about obstacles facing the trade sector,” he said. Al-Sulaiti also emphasised that part of the objectives of NDS2 is to involve the private sector in various investment initiatives. “We are encouraging the private sector to invest in export goods, and this will also help reduce the prices of services at the port. What we have done now is that we take containerised products to be exported through Hamad Port. This helps achieve a part of what the shipping lines want – they want the volume to be exported, so they can open a direct line. “We achieved that by signing an MoU with Muntajat, which is the agent for Qatar Petroleum for all their products, so we raised the volume of exports just only for these petrochemical exports of around 180,000 containers per year, which is a high volume,” he said. "

19 Mar 2018

Kuwait Investment Forum 2018 to showcase over $100 bn in potential investment opportunities and further new deals

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"Supporting Kuwait 2035 vision, the Forum highlights Kuwait’s determination to continue driving its transformation into a world-class financial and commercial hub Indian investors are welcome to partner in projects valued at over $100 billion in key sectors that include: ICT, oil & gas, renewable energy, electricity & water, urban developments & housing, healthcare, education, transport, tourism as well as the North zone development with the mega project the Silk City (Madinat Al-Hareer) Several new deals in the high-growth sectors to be unveiled at the event Harness Kuwait offer of a secure and dynamic open market with strong macroeconomic growth, investor grade sovereign rating, and a talent pool matched by favorable policy framework and new laws on foreign investment The State of Kuwait is rolling out investment partnerships and strategic investment opportunities valued at more than $ 100 billion in key economic and social sectors for investors that include information & communications technology, oil & gas, renewable energy, electricity & water, urban developments & housing, healthcare, education, transport, tourism, and the North zone development. The showcase of opportunities that bring long-term added-value and returns on investments is being highlighted at the Kuwait Investment Forum 2018 (KIF 2018) to be held on March 20 and 21 in Kuwait City, where several new deals are also set to be revealed. Held under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber, KIF 2018 is co-organised by the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA), and the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) at the Bayan Palace and the Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre (JACC). The event builds on the positive momentum gained globally following the country’s commitment to the Kuwait 2035 roadmap that aims to transform the nation into a world-class financial and commercial centre. Kuwait is a country that enjoys a secure, open and dynamic market that welcomes inward direct investments to forge partnerships that would complement its outward investments in several countries around the world led by its renowned Sovereign Wealth Fund, and with its leading global presence in the oil and gas sector through the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and its K-companies as well as its buoyant private sector. Kuwait has significant economic and commercial relations with India, while many leading Indian companies have their established presence in the country. There are significant opportunities for Indian companies to collaborate on the national development plan. The door is wide open for even more stronger Indian private sector partnerships will be showcased at KIF 2018 with a focus on some of the most attractive investment opportunities. Ali Al-Ghanim, Chairman of the KCCI, said, “Kuwait is taking determined steps to continue its transformation into one of the world’s most competitive economies. In its re-emerging development narrative, the private sector has a significant role to play. The country has always been an open market economy, formed strong trade and commercial relations, and remains a strong believer in liberalization, which is maintains its dynamic and thriving nature. This and more, will be highlighted at KIF 2018 and investors are welcomed to see first-hand the opportunities available today that will enable them to build their solid operational base from the central location of Kuwait to engage with the rest of the region.” Sheikh Dr. Meshaal Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah, Director General for KDIPA, said: “Value added FDI flows into Kuwait increased in the past two years enhancing innovation and foster competitiveness whilst also contributing to achieve the National Vision 2035 goals pertaining to diversifying the economy and ensuring a sustainable future. We are confident that KIF 2018 will lend further momentum to the inward inflows in a number of high-growth sectors that will be showcased varying from oil and gas, renewable energy, manufacturing, education and training, financial services, information technology and digital solutions, healthcare services, transport and communications among others. Kuwait provides investors with a host of incentives that include 100 per cent foreign ownership to establish legal entities anywhere in the country, along with exemptions on income tax up to 10 years, as well as customs duty exemptions for projects. KDIPA is at the forefront to exercise its role in providing all needed information, facilitation and aftercare services for existing and potential investors to ensure they establish successful businesses in our promising market that is expected to further play a leading role throughout the region and the neighboring countries capitalizing on its low risk status, balanced international relations, improving business climate, and large pool of young, tech-savvy population, with unique cultural identity. ” KIF2018 has remarkable confirmed guest speakers of prominent pubic officials, leading Kuwaiti business and financial community, as well as prominent international business executives. It has a crystallized agenda that underpins the future investment strategy and roadmap for global investors through interactive sessions with focused discussions that cover topics such as ‘Investing for the Future Kuwait’, which underpins the nation’s role as an important partner in the Belt and Road initiative (BRI), trade facilitation to enhance Kuwait’s leading position in integrated Logistics services and cross border supply chains, and on financing for sustainable development. There will be a dedicated session on a wide array of lucrative investment opportunities in the country’s dynamic growth sectors. In addition to a special feature on ‘New Kuwait’ in what is the first public discussion on the development roadmap since its launch last year. It will present a ‘Progress Report’ on the projects and developments under its seven pillars: Public Administration, Economy, Healthcare, Living Communities, Infrastructure, Human Capital and global position. KIF2018 will close with a vivid dialogue on ‘Kuwait’s Development Path: The Vision & the Determination’. The Forum will be attended by H.H. the Emir, the Prime Minister and his deputies, the ministers and high-ranking officials, the head of the Parliament, and the private sector, with international organizations. "

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