AD Ports signs 30-year agreement to manage and operate Congo terminal

Abu Dhabi-listed company will invest more than $500 million to expand New East Mole Port's operations in the African nation

ABU DHABI - UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - 01SEPT2012 - Khalifa Port Container Terminal Inaugurated its commercial operations by Abu Dhabi Ports Company yesterday in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National
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AD Ports Group, the operator of industrial cities and free zones, has signed a 30-year concession agreement with the government of the Republic of Congo to manage and operate a multipurpose New East Mole Terminal in the city of Pointe-Noire.

Under the terms of the new agreement, AD Ports will have the exclusive right to invest in the development, operation, management and maintenance of the “New East Mole Port” that will handle containers, general cargo, break-bulk and other types of cargo, the company said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, where its shares are traded.

AD Ports will invest more than $500 million over the life of the concession, with about $220 million allocated for the first phase, which is expected to be completed over the next 30 months.

The new deal follows the previous “head of terms” agreement signed between the two parties in March 2023, whereby AD Ports has the right to extend the agreement for a period of 20 years on the same terms and conditions.

“This agreement represents a significant milestone in our company's growth strategy,” said Capt Mohamed Al Shamisi, managing director and group chief executive of AD Ports.

“By expanding our operations and presence in Congo, we are not only strengthening our position in the region but also tapping into a new market with immense potential.

“We anticipate boosting trade and commerce between our countries and opening new trade routes, creating new employment opportunities and contributing to the overall development of Congo.”

Pointe Noire is the main commercial centre of the African country, and its port plays a key role in its economy and development, as well as that of the wider region.

During the last 16 years, UAE exports to the Congo increased by 5.6 per cent annually to $137 million in 2021, compared with $57 million in 2005.

During the same period, the Congo's exports to the UAE increased by an annual 30 per cent to $1.75 billion in 2021, from $26 million in 2005.

In 2021, the Congo exported $1.6 billion of refined copper and gold valued at $70.6 million to the UAE, AD Ports said, citing the Observatory of Economic Complexity data. The UAE exported cars worth $35 million to the Congo in 2021.

“We believe that this partnership has the potential to be a game-changer for our country and we are excited to see the positive impact it will have in the years to come,” said Denis-Christel Sassou Nguesso, the Congo's Minister of International Co-operation and the Promotion of Public Private Partnership.

Established in 2006, AD Ports Group, which owns and operates 10 ports in the UAE, has been expanding its operations globally.

In March, it signed a 30-year concession agreement with Egypt's Red Sea Ports Authority to develop and operate a multipurpose terminal at Port Safaga to boost operations in the country.

In January, the company also signed a partnership with Kazakhstan's state energy company KazMunayGas and a preliminary accord with the country's Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development to co-operate in the development of a national marine fleet and coastal infrastructure in the Caspian and Black seas.

AD Ports is also teaming up with different Angolan organisations to develop and improve maritime connectivity along Africa’s west coast.

Updated: June 20, 2023, 6:36 AM