The concession agreement will initially take the form of an equip-operate-transfer contract, and may be converted to a build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract if an anticipated expansion is implemented to cope with an increase in traffic levels. The term of the concession will be 30-35 years. The operators will be permitted to set tariffs, although they may be subject to some tariff regulation for domestic containers.

The Aden facility has a quay length of 700 metres with an alongside depth of 16 metres, while Ma’alla terminal has a quay length of 375 metres and an alongside depth of 11 metres. At present, Ma’alla handles only local traffic.

The terms of reference for prospective bidders state that the operator will be chosen according to their ability to attract transhipment business and relationships with major container lines, and their willingness to share financial risk with the government and to accept either Sanaa or a local partner as a minority shareholder.

The search for a new operator for ACT follows the withdrawal in 2003 of Yeminvest– a joint venture between Ports Authority of Singapore (PSA) and Saudi Arabia’s Bin Mahfouz Group– in response to a downturn in container traffic. However, business has since recovered considerably (MEED 16:4:04).