Gulftainer looks to the US to expand global portfolio


Gulftainer, the Sharjah-based port management and logistics company, is in talks with US operators to bring its business to the American market.

Peter Richards, managing director of Gulftainer, told the National that the company is looking to move into a port located on the eastern seaboard and that a deal with a US operator was imminent.

“We’ve been given a green light,” declared Richards.

“We’ve been looking at two locations in the US, but will choose one.”

Gulftainer will hope that its bid to enter the lucrative US market will not follow the same path as fellow UAE operator DP World, who failed with similar plans seven years ago after US lawmakers blocked the move due to the company’s Middle Eastern roots, which they felt was a threat to national security at the time.

“The world has changed and the US has changed. It wants investment,” added Richards.

Gulftainer unveiled its new vision and identity to become one of the most competitive and recognisable terminal operators in the world at a launch event, held at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce in the presence of Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, and Sheikh Khaled Bin Abdullah Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, chairman of the Sharjah Ports Authority.

The terminal operator said that it wants to expand its portfolio by as many as 20 new ports come 2020.

Gulftainer has seen consistent growth over the past decade, averaging more than 12 percent compared to global market growth of 8.6 percent in the same period. This year, Gulftainer expects to handle more than 6 million TEU and current projections anticipate that it will move up to 18 million TEU by 2020.

Today, the company’s portfolio covers four UAE operations in Khorfakkan, Sharjah, Hamriyah and Ruwais, as well as activities in Iraq at Umm Qasr, Recife in Brazil, Tripoli Port in Lebanon, and its recent acquisition in Saudi Arabia, managing container terminals in Jeddah and Jubail.

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