ICTSI works out issue on Sudan contract dispute

Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - April 26, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) said it would comply with the Sudanese government’s decision regarding its takeover of the South Port Container Terminal after reports that Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) decided to suspend the contract with Philippine port operator pending its cancellation. 

Reuters has reported that the TMC “issued a presidential decree to suspend the contracts of the Filipino company working at Port Sudan’s southern port until legal measures are completed to cancel the contract.” 

ICTSI said on Thursday that it has not received any official notice of suspension or cancellation from the Sudanese government, and thus declined to further comment on the issue.

ICTSI, however, said it would execute the contract if the government accepts the terms agreed with the previous government. 

Should the government want to update any of the terms, then it likewise expressed willingness to engage them in discussions.

In the event the Sudanese government decides to cancel the contract, ICTSI said it would fully cooperate with them, and would proceed with obtaining a refund of the upfront payment within a reasonable period against the guarantee bond issued by the Sudanese government.

ICTSI said it has a validly procured concession contract that is recognized by both the previous government and the TMC.

In January, the listed company owned by ports tycoon Enrique Razon announced its expansion in Sudan through its wholly owned subsidiary ICTSI Middle East DMCC.

The firm said it emerged as the preferred bidder for the contract last year, and has signed a concession agreement with Sea Ports Corp. of Sudan to operate, manage and develop the South Port Container Terminal at Port Sudan, with the transfer of the facilities to the company’s management expected to take place in the first quarter.

Last month, Agence France-Presse reported that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has ordered a review of the ICTSI deal involving the transfer of container terminal at Port Sudan after hundreds of workers in February went on strike in protest against the transaction. 

ICTSI Global corporate head Christian Gonzalez, however, earlier said the company is confident that the Sudan expansion would push through amid an ongoing review of the deal.

“Any concession agreement, after you sign the initial contract, will always have a number of conditions subsequent to signing in related to labor, impact to community, and other matters related to stakeholders in the port so this is a normal occurrence very similar to situations that we had in Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, and many of the other places,” Gonzalez said in an interview last month.

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