International Container Terminal Services, Inc of the Philippines has signed a 20 year concession to operate Port Sudan container terminal and possibly expand it in the future
It had been reported in Sudan that the government had held talks with DP World, but in July 2018 Khartoum named ICTSI as the preferred bidder for the contract to operate what is the country’s most important port. The range of foreign firms prepared to invest in Sudan has increased since the US lifted its sanctions on the country in October 2017.
The contract is relatively unusual. Most container terminal concessions in Africa relate to building and then operating terminals but the Port Sudan facility has already been developed. It was completed in 2011 with a depth alongside of 16m and now has eight ship to shore cranes and 20 RTGs.
The government has been keen to bring in a private operator for at least two years but has faced opposition to its plans from port workers. NGOs operating in the country have claimed that thousands of workers were sacked in 2017.
Sudanese parastatal Sea Ports Corporation (SPC) has operated the container terminal since it was built and will now take up the position as port landlord.
Port Sudan has annual handling capacity of 1M TEU and handled 470,000 TEU in 2017. The government of Ethiopia has held talks with Khartoum over using the port, although the recent thaw in relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea could see Ethiopian traders resume their historic use of Eritrean ports.
Port Sudan will be ICTSI’s third container operation in Africa, alongside Madagascar International Container Terminal Services at Toamasina and Matadi Gateway Terminal in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The tender process was handled by SPC, with Hamburg Port Consulting acting as the international advisor.