DP World, the global shipping company based in Dubai, has pushed back against the Government of Djibouti after what it maintains is the illegal seizure of the Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT), a facility strategically located near the Bab al-Mandab Strait and operated by the firm under a 30-year agreement.
“The illegal seizure of the terminal is the culmination of the government’s campaign to force the DP World to renegotiate the terms of the concession,” the company said in a statement issued Friday.
It follows a previous decision by the London Court of International Arbitration to uphold the existing terms of that agreement, which began in 2006. DP World says the seizure is a breach of the agreement and a violation of international law; in the face of new threats the firm filed another arbitration case on February 20. A final demand from Djibouti to renegotiate the contract came Wednesday, with Djibouti’s port takeover on Thursday.
“The Government’s conduct is particularly oppressive and cynical,” DP World said. “The Government only recently failed in its attempts to unravel the contracts by alleging the contracts were corrupt.”
Djibouti officials said they took control of the DCT facility because the deal no longer serves the nation’s best interests, and compromises its sovereignty and economic independence. The government said it was left with no choice, and the decision reflected DP World’s resistance to settle the dispute amicably.
Djibouti said it has taken over the site operations and all goods and personnel essential to it.
Image: DP World