The Port of Wilmington is now in the hands of United Arab Emirates-based Gulftainer. Gov. John Carney signed an agreement with Badr Jafar, the chairman of Gulftainer’s executive board, during a ceremony at the port Tuesday afternoon. While Delaware will retain ownership of the land, Gulftainer will operate the port for the next 50 years — upgrading facilities, expanding operations and adding employees along the way.
“This is a really big deal,” Carney said before a crowd of dignitaries from Delaware and the United Arab Emirates assembled in a warehouse at the port. “What we’re going to do here today is to secure the jobs of the people and families who work here at the port and those who are going to work in the years to come.”
As part of the deal, Gulftainer will pay the state an annual royalty, starting at $6 million this year. The payment, which is dependent on the volume of cargo the port handles, is expected to increase to $13 million per year by 2027.
The company will spend $410 million to construct a new container port facility at DuPont’s former Edgemoor site just north of the existing port. And it will devote another $170 million to upgrading the existing facility.
That will help the port reach its “full potential” Jafar said. “The port’s enhanced operations will have the potential to generate well over 6,000 direct and indirect new jobs, including high-tech jobs over the coming decade.”
Increased capacity at the port is expected to generate $1.2 billion in economic activity for the state of Delaware, according to Jafar.
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