APSEZ wants to acquire berths in the port of Dar es Salaam

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ) is said to be on the verge of acquiring the rights to develop and operate some cargo berths in Tanzania’s main port, Dar es Salaam, as billionaire Gautam Adani emerges from the Hindenburg episode, making its first major acquisition and third overall globally by its port’s business unit in recent years, multiple sources said.

The Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), the state body that oversees the East African country’s ports, is expected to announce in the next few days the winner of a double tender to privatize the port of Dar es Salaam, which manages around 95 percent of that international trade country.

According to a source on the matter, APSEZ is said to have teamed up with Abu Dhabi Ports Group to make a joint bid for some breakbulk/dry cargo and container berths in the port of Dar es Salaam – the main gateway to inland Tanzania – the region of the greats lakes

The port also plays an important role in supporting the economies of neighboring landlocked countries of Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

In addition, the port is strategically located to serve as a cargo link to and from East and Central Africa, the Near and Far East, Europe, Australia and the Americas.

APSEZ and the Tanzania Port Authority could not immediately be reached for comment.

Since January this year, APSEZ has been contracted by the Tanzania Ports Authority to act as a service provider to operate four container terminal berths (8 to 11) in the port of Dar es Salaam, after the five-year contract with Tanzania International Container Terminal Services Ltd (TICTS), a unit of Hutchison Port Holdings Ltd in Hong Kong, had expired.

The Port of Dar es Salaam has a nominal capacity of 14.1 million tonnes (mt) of dry cargo and 6 million tonnes of bulk liquid cargo. The port has a total quay length of around 2,600 meters with eleven deep-water berths.

The port has five general cargo (0-5) berths for handling general cargo and dry bulk, as well as one RoRO (RoRO) berth for handling vehicles and six container terminals with a total capacity of 1 million TEU.

The port also operates a grain terminal (silos with a storage capacity of 30,000 tons), an Inland Container Depot (ICD) with a capacity of 24,300 TEUs (Twenty Foot Equivalent Units) and a container freight station with a capacity for 6,000 vehicles.

The port has two oil terminals – the Single Point Mooring (SPM) facility and the Kurasini Oil Jetty (KOJ) for handling crude oil and refined petroleum products.

Tanzania Ports Authority is implementing the Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Project (DMGP) with a US$345 million loan from the World Bank to improve the port’s efficiency by helping larger ships dock and increasing cargo-handling capacity to 28 million tonnes by 2025.

The aim of the DMGP is to strengthen and deepen the 11 cargo berths and the RORO terminal to 14.5 meters, to deepen and widen the entrance channel and turning basin in the port to the end of berth 11 to 15.5 meters, and to construct a new multi-purpose berth at Gerezani Creek.

As a precursor to the acquisition of berths in the Port of Dar es Salaam, APSEZ and Abu Dhabi Ports Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding in August last year to pursue strategic joint investments in comprehensive logistics infrastructure and solutions including rail, maritime services, port operations, digital Services, industrial zone and the establishment of maritime academies in Tanzania.

The agreement has set in motion a range of potential country-level investments to expand, enhance and boost a comprehensive maritime and logistical ecosystem that will make Tanzania a hub for the African region, the two companies said after signing the MoU to continue the collaboration.

“This MOU with Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd has significant implications for both Tanzania’s ability to transform into an African trading hub and our ability to further develop our global capabilities and connections to get goods to market faster and more efficiently.” , said Capt Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Managing Director and Group CEO of AD Ports Group, after signing the MoU.

“Our strategic investment in infrastructure and solutions in Tanzania will enable international companies to enter African markets. In line with the direction of the UAE leadership, we are positioning Abu Dhabi as a global leader in logistics and industry,” he added.

Karan Adani, CEO of APSEZ, said that the partnership with “AD Ports Group in the development of important quality infrastructure in Tanzania, particularly in the port and maritime sector, will improve communities and bring about positive change”.

“We continue to support local employment as well as overall economic growth in Tanzania and East African countries, which will benefit from our investments by working with AD Ports Group,” said Karan Adani.

AD Ports Group, listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and part of the Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company, is one of the largest holding companies in the region and is based in the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

On Jan. 24, US-based Hindenburg Research accused the Adani Group of accounting fraud, stock manipulation and other corporate governance failures.

The Adani Group has denied these allegations.

In January this year, a consortium of APSEZ (70 percent stake) and local firm Gadot Group took control of the $1.13 billion Haifa Port Company in Israel’s largest commercial port as part of the country’s privatization program.

In 2021, APSEZ signed a concession agreement with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to build a container terminal at the Port of Colombo, a regional hub.

APSEZ has a 51 percent stake in the under construction West Container Terminal at the Port of Colombo, which is designed to handle 3.8 million TEUs (Twenty Foot Equivalent Units) per year under a 35-year phased contract.

APSEZ and its two local partners – John Keells Holdings PLC and Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) – will invest around US$650 million in the construction of the terminal. The first phase of the terminal, with a capacity to handle 1 million TEU, is expected to start operations in December 2024.

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