Aqaba port's marine services privatised
Jordan's special economic zone in the Red Sea port of Aqaba has signed a 15-year contract with a UAE and Jordanian firm to invest US$15 million in handling the port's marine services, officials said on Monday. They said Lamnalco Group, a UAE-based towage and marines services provider, in partnership with Jordan National Shipping Lines Co, signed the deal this week with Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC), the investment arm of Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA). ASEZA regulates a tax haven in the segregated 375 sq km zone that borders Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
'We will have exclusive rights for the management of the marine services for the provision of pilotage, tugs and towing services for the port for the next 15 years,' Philip Orme, MD of Lamnalco Group, said. Imad Fakhouri, the chairman and CEO of ADC, said the contract was the latest deal to privatise one of the major facilities and terminals of the port to boost its competitiveness as a regional transport and logistics hub. 'This contract to provide international standards will boost the ability of the port to compete with neighbouring ports and attract more shipping lines.' ADC also plans to offer tenders to investors for a host of facilities including general cargo and industrial and miscellaneous liquids terminals to investors either as packages or under build-operate-transfer (BOT) terms.
Along with acting as a major transhipment port for its neighbour Iraq, Aqaba has also seen a boom in real estate and tourism since it became a special zone over six years ago. APM Terminals, part of Danish shipping and oil group AP Moeller, is operating a 25-year concession to operate and develop Aqaba port's main container terminal.