Friday, 29 October 2010

Port of Aden suffers from lack of investment

Another issue that causes concern in the south is what is perceived as the regime's failure to honour a commitment made at the time of unity that Aden should be the commercial capital of Yemen. Older residents recall the glory days of the early 1960s when it was the second port in the world. It has subsequently been devastated by the closure of the Suez Canal for eight years after 1967, the ideologically-driven polices under the PDRY, a near civil war in 1986 and an actual one in 1994 and what might be described as benign neglect since then, punctuated by attempts by outside investors to do something to improve the port.

There are now complaints that the current operator of the container-handling facilities in the port – Dubai Port World (DPW) - is planning to divert traffic from Aden to its facilities in Djibouti or to the UAE, where new and modern ports are being developed. The DPW web site notes that Aden “is a key domestic cargo gateway for Yemen and is strategically located to capture significantly growing regional transhipment volumes. Its position on the main east-west trade route, only four miles away from the international marine shipping lane, makes it an ideal hub port for transhipment services to East Africa, the Red Sea, the Subcontinent and the Gulf region”.

A group of MPs is to investigate claims that DPW is discriminating against Aden through its fee structure. Whether or not this is true, there is an obvious disparity in the facilities available in Aden compared with competing ports. Aden needs investment.

For more news and expert analysis about Yemen, please see Yemen Focus.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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