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DUBAI: August 4, 2018. The Djibouti government of president Ismaïl Omar Guelleh has rejected this week’s London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) decision that it has illegally seized the Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT) from DP World.

DP World responded saying Djibouti’s rejection of the LCIA ruling demonstrates it does not recognise the principles of international law that are binding on both the government and the port operator.

Doraleh Container Terminal“As the Court has held, Djibouti does not have sovereignty over a contract governed by English law. It is well established that, in the absence of an express term to that effect, an English law contract cannot be unilaterally terminated at will. The contract therefore remains in full force and effect,” said the company.

In 2006 the government of president Guelleh signed a 50-year concession agreement with DP World to build and operate the DCT (pictured) with a shareholding split 67-33 percent respectively.

With an annual capacity of 1.3 million TEU and reportedly the most advanced ocean container terminal on Africa’s east coast, DP World says the DCT remains the largest employer and biggest source of revenue in the country, has operated at a profit every year since it opened, and has been found to have been a “great success” for Djibouti under its management.

The government continues to claim the port concession has proved contrary to the fundamental interests of the country – despite evidence to the LCIA demonstrating otherwise.

In 2013 China Merchants Port Holdings (CMPH) announced it had acquired a 23.5 percent stake in the Port de Djibouti S.A. (PDSA) from the Djibouti government saying the “core assets of PDSA included the Port of Djibouti (POD), Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT), off-dock depot (DDP) and Doraleh Multi-Purpose Port (DMP)”.

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