By: Abdurrahman Shamlan
This past Tuesday, the Yemeni government announced that it had set aside $500 million for the development of Aden port, its container terminal and the government-owned porter corporation. The announcement comes two weeks after the Gulf of Aden Ports Corporation took over Aden Port from Dubai Government-owned company DP World, the Saba news agency reported.
The announcement was made during a visit by Minister of Transport Dr. Waed Bathaib and Aden Governor Waheed Rashid to the port. Their visit represented their first following the divestment of stakes by the world’s third largest porter, DP World, as part of an agreement with the Yemeni government.
During the visit, Bathaib – who many recognize as the first Yemeni official to seriously raise the issue of Aden Port and its future – surveyed the state of the port and the terminal and took part in the official ceremony for the handover to the Gulf of Aden Ports Corporation.
In a statement to reporters, Bathaib said Aden Port would be run by a national porter corporation until January of next year, before adding that during this period they would seek temporary assistance from foreign experts.
“Any new partnership or project established to operate Aden Port will be conducted in a transparent manner because the handling of Aden Port has become a matter of public concern,” the minister was quoted as saying.
Yemen reached an agreement with DP World on September 20. The agreement, which was finalized in Turkey, stated that DP World would divest the entirety of its 50 percent shareholding in the Dubai and Aden Port Development Company – the now-former managing company of the port’s container terminal – to its joint venture partner, the Yemeni state-owned Gulf of Aden Ports Corporation.
The agreement was reached after Yemen officials publicly accused DP World of failing to meet its contractual obligations – which included a planned expansion of the port container terminal -and of deliberately downgrading conditions at Aden Port, considered by some to have been done to compel ships to divert their destination to Dubai Port.
The Yemeni government has previously demanded that the international porter make good on the terms of its contract, signed in 2008, or else it would seek to revoke the deal, which originally was for a duration of three decades.