London tribunal states Djibouti’s port seizure is illegal

The London Court of International Arbitration has ruled that the seizure of the control by the Djibouti government of Doraleh Container Terminal is illegal. An Arbitral Tribunal of the court undertook this decision, proving that DP World is still legally in control of the Doraleh Container Terminal.
DP World has a concession of 30 years for the operation of the port. As a result of this decision, that concession is still valid and binding. All decrees and laws that have been issued by the Djibouti government to the contrary have been simply to avoid the government’s contractual obligations. DP World has stated that it will now consider the ruling and analyze its options.

The Doralah Container Port was built by DP World under concession in 2006 by the government of Djibouti. This followed a previous deal for running the Port of Djibouti which was signed by the two parties in 2000. As per the 2006 deal, DP World has a 33% ownership of the Doralah terminal while the government of Djibouti owns 67% of it.
The terminal opened for operations in 2009. It has 3 berths and covers a 1 kilometer of quay which is capable of accommodating the Super-Post-Panamax ships. The terminal’s capacity is 1.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units.
Recently, the government of Djibouti wanted to modify the terms of the concession with DP World. This forced the Dubai-based firm to go into arbitration and, now, it has won the ruling.
During the opening, Esmail Omar Guelleh, the president of Djibouti, had thanked the support provided by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. He also spoke about how the construction and inauguration of the terminal have enabled the long-standing dream of the Djibouti peoples to be transformed into reality.

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