Gulftainer, a “port management” and logistics firm based out of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) agreed to a 50-year, $600 million deal to run the Port of Wilmington in Delaware. According to a press release from Gulftainer, this agreement, which was announced on Wednesday, will be “the largest operation ever run by a UAE company in the United States.”
“This historic agreement will result in significant new investment in the Port of Wilmington, which has long been one of Delaware’s most important industrial job centers,” said Delaware Governor John Carney. “For decades, jobs at the Port have helped stabilize Delaware families and the communities where they live. I was proud to help make our partnership with Gulftainer official today, and I want to thank members of the General Assembly, the Diamond State Port Corporation, Gulftainer, and all of our partners who have helped make this agreement a reality.”
According to Delaware Online, Carney stated that the deal will create more “blue-collar jobs” for the state, and grow Delaware’s current maritime workforce. State officials told reporters that the new operator’s goal is to increase port traffic by 75 percent in non containerized goods.
Negotiations went on for more than a year before the deal between Delaware and Gulftainer was inked. Gulftainer also runs “Canaveral Cargo Terminal in Port Canaveral, Florida,” where the company supports not only commercial shipping but also U.S. military customers. Both the State of Delaware and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) took part in the negotiations, which included a thorough vetting of the company.
Gulftainer reported that it plans to spend $600 million improving the port itself and building a new container facility, which alone will cost $400 million. The company also plans to add training facilities which can accommodate 1,000 people per year, according to a report from Reuters.
“Since Gulftainer’s entry into the US through our operations in Port Canaveral in 2015, we have discovered major untapped potential in this sector and we will continue to look for attractive investment opportunities in the region,” said Gulftainer’s Executive Board Chairman Badr Jafar via a press release.
According to Bloomberg, Gulftainer has a global presence, and besides its operations in the United States the company also has sites in “Kuwait, Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq, and the Comoros.”
Although the new deal promises to create new jobs as well as stimulate Delaware’s economy, the U.S. markets were mixed on Wednesday. According to Yahoo Finance, both The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up slightly, while the NASDAQ fell by 0.1 percent. The ongoing negotiations between the U.S. and Canada to firm up a deal regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are still making some investors nervous. Many experts are also concerned about the trade war with China, and the effects of the new tariffs both countries have levied on each other.