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Pressure on Djibouti intensifies

The High Court of England and Wales has extended the restraining order against Port de Djibouti it issued in August

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The order prohibits state owned Port de Djibouti SA (PDSA) from interfering in the operations of Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT) and instructed it not to act “as if the joint venture agreement with DP World has been terminated.” It also orders PDSA not to replace or remove DCT directors.

 

Furthermore, the order has been extended to include all PDSA affiliates, which is presumably targeted at the government of Djibouti, following a request from DP World. The government of Djibouti unilaterally withdrew the Dubai firm’s stake in DCT in February.

 

As previously discussed, on 9th September the President of Djibouti signed an emergency ordinance that transferred PDSA’s equity in DCT to the government of Djibouti, presumably in order to protect its asset from international legal action. China Merchants also holds a 23.5% stake in PDSA.

 

DP World’s main shareholder, the government of Dubai, issued a statement saying: “The ruling means neither the government nor PDSA can control DCT or give valid instructions to third parties on behalf of DCT without DP World’s consent.”

 

PDSA is reported to have failed to send any representatives to the High Court hearing on 14th September. The case was heard in London because the concession is governed by English law. The restraining order is to remain in place until the London Court of International Arbitration can rule on the dispute.

 

A spokesperson for DP World said: “This is yet another in a series of rulings - all in favour of DP World - that demonstrate Djibouti’s continuing disregard for the rule of law. We underline our belief that companies intending to operate in such a country or already operating there need to seriously consider their dealings with this government in the face of such behaviour.”

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