U-turn possible on Sudan concession

Port Sudan ICTSI's management of Port Sudan's container terminal could be delayed or stopped entirely. Credit: Sea Ports Corporation

Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir has said that a deal to transfer Port Sudan’s container terminal to International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) is being reviewed following a protest strike by workers.

Last month, nearly 2000 workers went on strike against the “privatisation” of the port, managed by the government-controlled Sea Ports Coperation (SPC), who signed a 20-year concession deal with ICTSI subsidiary ICTSI Middle East DMCC on 3 January, according to a disclosure from the company.

"We have already ordered a review of the contract with the Philippines company to ensure that it is a fair contact for Sudanese people," Mr Bashir said, reported AFP.

The presidency's media office also confirmed that Bashir had ordered a review of the contract.

Speaking at the time of the strike, Othman Taher, head of an opposition trade union, said 1,800 workers took part. “Our message and our demand to the government is to refuse the privatisation and cancel the contract with the Philippine company to protect the country’s resources,” he commented, reported Reuters.

In July 2018, ICTSI informed the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission that it had been named the preferred bidder to operate, manage and develop the terminal under a 20-year concession.

Port Sudan South Quays handle containers, petroleum, and bulk grains. The Southern port covers about 400,000 square meters and has capacity to handle 3m tons of cargo per year.

Port Strategy has contacted ICTSI for comment.

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