State signs Port of Wilmington-Gulftainer agreement

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Gov. John Carney, the Diamond State Port Corporation, and GT USA Wilmington, LLC signed an agreement that will expand the Port of Wilmington, create jobs, and lead to as much as $600 million of new investment.

Dubai-based Gulftainer’s subsidiary GT USA Wilmington, LLC will make annual royalty payments to the State of Delaware reaching an estimated $13 million over the next decade.

The company plans to invest as much as $600 million in the Port over the next decade, including approximately $410 million for a new container facility at the DuPont/ Chemours former Edgemoor site, which was acquired by the state-owned Diamond State Port Corporation in 2016.

The former Chemours site could attract container ships that would not have to sail as far up the Delaware River. The Port of Wilmington itself is limited in its ability to attract shoppers is limited since it is mainly located on the Christiana River.

A competing port in New Jersey earlier made a run at the port’s fruit shippers but was unsuccessful.

“We are proud to be making thislong-term commitment to the State of Delaware, its community and itseconomy,” saidBadr Jafar, chairman of Gulftainer’s Executive Board. “This landmark agreement builds on Gulftainer’s 43-year track record of delivering excellence and dependability in ports and logistics operations around the world and will create thousands of new jobs, enhanced links, and sustainablevalue for Wilmington and the State. We are confident that this public-private partnership will propel the Port of Wilmington towards becoming the principal gateway of the Eastern Seaboard.”

“This is a great day for the State of Delaware,” saidWilliam Ashe, President of International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1694. “We’re strengthening the Port and local job creation. I was very happy to be a part of this celebration and agreement signing today.”

“The UAE and U.S. have a strong, vibrant investment relationship that delivers meaningful and measurable benefits to businesses, and creates jobs in both countries,” saidH.E. Yousef Al Otaiba, ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States. “Gulftainer’s investment in the Port of Wilmington is a perfect example of this important economic partnership. This deal will create new jobs in Wilmington, and generate additional economic benefits to other communities across Delaware.”

The Legislature had earlier endorsed the agreement, which had drawn fire from some anti-Islamic website/blogs that the rolled out a far-fetched scenario of potential smuggling of missiles in shipping containers that could be aimed at U.S. targets. Gulftainer operates a port in Florida that was also seen as a risky proposition.

The arguments failed to gain traction in the General Assembly, even among its most conservative members.

An appeal to a federal agency to study the deal from a California congressman was also rejected.

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