UAE-based port operator Gulftainer has signed a concession agreement with the US state of Delaware to operate the Port of Wilmington for a period of 50 years.
As part of the agreement, Gulftainer will invest up to $600m in the port to upgrade and expand the terminal.
Of the total investment, $400m will be spent on a new 1.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) container facility at former DuPont site, which was acquired by Port of Wilmington’s current operator Diamond State Port in 2016.
Gulftainer plans to further develop all the cargo terminals at the port to improve the facility’s overall productivity.
The company is expected to establish a training facility for the ports and logistics industries to train up to 1,000 people annually.
The newly awarded concession is the result of a year-long negotiation and evaluation of Gulftainer’s capabilities across the globe, including in the US.
In the US, Gulftainer currently operates the Canaveral Cargo Terminal at Port Canaveral in Florida and offers services to the US Armed Forces and the US space industry.
In addition, the concession deal completes a preliminary agreement between Gulftainer and the state of Delaware, as well as marking the conclusion of a formal review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
Delaware Governor John Carney said: “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 centres.
“For decades, jobs at the port have helped stabilise Delaware families and the communities where they live.”
The Port of Wilmington was opened in 1923 and is a deepwater port and marine terminal spanning across an area of 308 acres at the confluence of the Delaware and Christina rivers.
Equipped with a dockside cold storage facility, it is one of the major ports in North America that imports fresh fruits into the US.