Gulftainer on Monday marked its expansion into the United States as part of its strategic vision to operate 35 terminals in five continents by 2020.
The Sharjah-based firm secured a 35-year concession from Port Canaveral in Florida State to operate and further develop its container and multi-purpose cargo terminal, which will commence operations in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Gulftainer, a subsidiary of Crescent Enterprises and one of the world’s largest privately owned port management and logistics companies, said this deal will give significant boost to its business and help achieving 18 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) target by 2020.
Chief executive of Canaveral Port John Walsh and chief executive of Crescent Enterprises and chairman of Gulftainer’s executive board Badr Jafar signed the agreement at Canaveral Port in the presence of 120 officials from the port and Florida State.
Michael Corbin, ambassador of the US to the UAE, and Saud Al Nowais, commercial counsellor from the UAE Embassy in Washington, among others were also present on the occasion.
“Today is a momentous occasion, not just for Gulftainer, but also for the UAE. The seas have been facilitating international trade for centuries and such a partnership between a world-class UAE-born port operator and the third largest passenger cruise port in the world, promises great success,” Badr Jafar told Khaleej Times from Florida.
John Walsh said this agreement marks a new era for Port Canaveral. “With work on the widening and deepening of the Canaveral Harbour currently in progress, the new container and multi-purpose cargo terminal will further underscore our credentials as one of the most important economic engines for our region,” he said.
Under the terms of the agreement, Gulftainer will strengthen the terminal through a $100 million investment in infrastructure, equipment and locally-sourced human capital.
The new container and cargo terminal is expected to contribute more than $630 million to Florida’s economy, $280 million in revenue to Port Canaveral, and generate more than $350 million in tax contributions.
“By bringing Gulftainer’s UAE-grown expertise and global relationships to Port Canaveral, we aim to create a new efficient and secure gateway for goods entering and leaving the southern Atlantic coastline of America,” Jafar said. He said Gulftainer would work with the Canaveral Port Authority to provide opportunities to the local economy by investing in infrastructure, processes and people.
Walsh said the arrival of larger ships and increased cargo handling will add significant value to Florida’s economy. He said ports operated by Gulftainer are ranked first in Europe, Middle East and Africa and third globally in productivity by the Journal of Commerce Port Productivity Report 2013.
“We are confident of its ability to create tangible returns for Port Canaveral in a short span of time,” he said.
Canaveral Port Authority Commission chairman Tom Weinberg the decision to grant the concession to Gulftainer has been taken after careful consideration and due diligence.
“This is a true game-changer that will strengthen our cargo operations,” he said.
The Sharjah-based Gulftainer operates and manages ports and logistics businesses in several countries in the Middle East, as well as in Brazil and Turkey. It has recorded a consistent growth over the past decade, averaging over 12 per cent compared to global market growth of 8.6 per cent during the same period. In 2012, Gulftainer’s terminal at Khorfakkan was the fastest growing trans-shipment hub in the world recording 28 per cent growth.
Julio Barbosa from Barbosa Legal said “This is Great News for Florida, and totally in sync with the other inward investments coming into the State.” His company is based in Miami and specializes in International Taxation.
by Muzaffar Rizvi from Khaleejtimes