Port eyes operator

19 December 2003
Sanaa has requested the assistance of the World Bank to seek a new operator for the Aden Container Terminal (ACT), following the October withdrawal of the previous operator Yeminvest. Government and bank officials are preparing tender documents for a consultant, which will take responsibility for managing the tendering process.

Yeminvest, a joint venture of Ports Authority of Singapore Corporation (PSA)and Saudi Arabia's Bin Mahfouz Group, won the concession to manage ACT in 1996. The decision to withdraw was prompted chiefly by soaring war risk insurance rates in the wake of the October 2002 attack on the French tanker Limburg. Throughput fell to 8,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in December 2002 from 42,500 TEUs three months earlier. Yeminvest was bought out on favourable terms by the government, since when a group of former PSA employees, known as Overseas Port Management, have been managing the terminal on a temporary basis. Its contract expires in March 2004.

Sanaa is confident of attracting a new operator in light of insurance rates returning to close to pre-Limburg levels. Pacific International Lines, has returned to the port, albeit with lower volumes of throughput. The new concession is likely to be offered on a 20-year basis.

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