March 20, 2019 / 9:08 PM / 3 months ago

Sudan to make 2 billion euros from container port deal- official

KHARTOUM, March 20 (Reuters) - The Sudanese government will make 2.13 billion euros ($2.44 billion) over a 20 year period from a deal with Philippine port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) to expand port capacity, a government official said.

The deal aims to more than triple capacity at Port Sudan’s South Port Container Terminal, Ali Ahmed Abdelrahim, head of a technical committee in charge of contracting the project, told reporters on Wednesday.

The 20-year contract will see ICTSI operate, manage and develop the port, the company said last month, with the handover expected to be completed by the end of March.

Sudan has received 410 million euros from ICTSI out of a 530 million euro down payment, Abdelrahim said.

This is the first time a Sudanese official has publicly acknowledged the deal, which was signed on Jan. 3.

The port’s workers staged a strike last month “to refuse the privatisation...to protect the country’s resources,” the head of an opposition trade union said at the time.

Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who is facing the most significant street challenges of his 30-year rule, said last month that Sudan would look into the contract to ensure that it was a fair contract for the Sudanese people.

ICTSI said in a statement sent to Reuters last month that local stakeholders’ concerns were being addressed by Sudan Port Corporation and the Government of Sudan.

Eighty-five percent of all goods imported to Sudan come through the South Port Container Terminal.

The government expects the port to generate 3.339 billion euros in revenue over the contract’s 20-year duration, Abdelrahim said. Sudan’s share will be 2.13 billion euros and ICTSI will take the remainder. The port makes 91 million euros annually, he added.

The government aims to raise the port’s capacity from handling 480,000 containers a year to 1.5 million.

The second highest bidder in the tender was the UAE’s Dubai Ports, Abdelrahim said.

The contract with ICTSI stipulates that no container ports are to be built in Sudan for seven years, Abdelrahim said. ($1 = 0.8747 euros) (Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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