DP World attacks “predatory” Chinese firms

Doraleh Container Terminal. DP World has been involved in a long-running dispute over the rights to operate Doraleh Container Terminal. Credit: DP World
Industry Database

Chinese companies are engaging in “predatory” behaviour by seizing assets of countries that default on loan agreements, the chairman of DP World has said.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem’s denouncement of China’s economic practises comes after DP World filed a lawsuit against China for its role in what the company deemed an “illegal seizure” of Djibouti’s Doraleh Container Terminal, the operation of which had been exclusively granted to DP World.

DP World accused the state-owned China Merchants Port Holdings of unlawfully inducing Djibouti's violation of their agreement. China Merchants owns 23.5% of Port de Djibouti SA (PDSA) – whose shareholding in Doraleh Container Terminal SA (DCT) was transferred to the Government of Djibouti in September.

Speaking to CNBC, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr bin Sulayem stated: “China as a government has great respect throughout the world. Unfortunately, the actions of Chinese companies don't reflect that.

"They have taken predatory practices in something that (is termed) today to be a debt trap, whereby they overextend their debts to countries and eventually take their assets. This is something that tarnishes the reputation of China."

He added: "Unfortunately some of these companies, because they are flush with cash, this disturbs the balance around the world, and gives China a bad reputation.”

Major investment

China has poured billions of (US) dollars into infrastructure projects across Asia and Africa as part of its Belt and Road project, but this has sunk several nations into deep debt. Analysts point to Beijing's offers of cheap loans and then demands of control over infrastructure as compensation when those debts cannot be paid off.

In 2017, Sri Lanka, with more than $1bn in debt owed to China, handed over a port to Chinese state-owned companies. According to the non-profit Center for Global Development, the countries most affected by Chinese debt include Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Laos, the Maldives, Mongolia, Montenegro, and Pakistan, with the first three facing national debt at more than 75 percent of their GDP as of March 2018.

"I would say, you trust the Chinese government, you watch out for the Chinese companies," Mr bin Sulayem said. "Some of them are good, we have great relations with them. But some of them, unfortunately, they use tactics which are not acceptable in getting market share."

LATEST PRESS RELEASES

SOHAR Port and Freezone Launches SOHAR Navigate

The innovative online route planner contains deep-sea and short-sea schedules connecting to 550 port... Read more

Solvo.TOS a Key Ingredient in Angola’s Plans to Grow Its Economy

Solvo.TOS has been chosen by Sogester S.A. (APMT and GF Sociedade Gestore de Terminais, SA) to moder... Read more

SANY Port Machinery launches the new efficient Reach Stacker H9 in Europe

Sany well understood the customers’ need to improve cost. In 2018 SANY introduced the new Reach Stac... Read more

KHALIFA PORT CONTAINER TERMINAL STAYS WITH BROMMA

Bromma has been selected to deliver the spreaders for the automatic stacking cranes to be commission... Read more

Kalmar's automated and manual straddle carriers selected by Patrick Terminals for fleet renewal programme

Kalmar's automated and manual straddle carriers selected by Patrick Terminals for fleet renewal prog... Read more

NEW HYSTER ® TOP LIFT CONTAINER HANDLERS

Hyster Europe has launched a new top lift Laden Container Handler that is expected to increase produ... Read more

View all