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UAE's Gulftainer seals $275m Russian port development deal.

MUSCAT: Largest privately owned port operator in the world, Gulftainer, which is based in the United Arab Emirates, has secured a landmark agreement to co-develop and operate Ust-Luga Port near St Petersburg in Russia.

At a prime-ministerial ceremony in the presence of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, in Sochi on the Black Sea, signed by and between Badr Jafar, managing director of the Crescent Group and vice-chairman of Gulftainer, and Ust-Luga Port Company chairman Valeriy Israylit, and in the presence of UAE ambassador to the Russia Omar Ghobash, the agreement is believed to be the largest UAE private company investment in Russia to date.

Gulftainer is expected to invest more than $275 million into the terminal venture for development. Ust-Luga is a key port gateway into the heart of Russia's buoyant Baltic Western region and will provide a quality alternative to the relatively congested St Petersburg Port.

Badr Jafar commented, "This is another big step for the Gulftainer Group as we expand our global footprint into the most dynamic region of Russia. As the country's vast potential is increasingly realised the Baltic Western region will play a vital role, handling as it does around 60 per cent of Russian container volumes."

Volumes through the Baltic have risen dramatically in recent years but there is huge scope for growth as the ratio of containers handled to population is still only 30 per 1,000 people in Russia compared with 168 per 100 in the European Union.

"We believe that Gulftainer's expertise honed over 35 years in the most testing of competitive environments, coupled with our Russian colleagues' knowledge and determination will ensure that this new deepwater terminal - the biggest port infrastructure project of the Russian Federation - will provide the best service in the region, boosting trade for the Russian hinterland", Peter Richards commented.

As the largest private terminal operator in the world and the first port operator from the Middle East to invest in Russia's Baltic region, Gulftainer and its partner intend to ensure that the Russia gateway terminal at Ust-Luga will set new standards of efficiency and productivity, aiming to handle 170 million tonnes of cargo when developed.

"We are glad that such a major and experienced logistics player as Gulftainer has come to work in Ust Luga ," said Maksim Shirokov, director-general of Ust Luga company.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Sep 20, 2011
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