Competition is raging over Sudanese ports management contracts between three Qatari, Emirati and Chinese companies.
Global conflict is intensifying over for influence on a key part of the Red Sea coast.
Sudan’s state-run Sea Ports Corp. is considering China Harbour’s offer of $543m in funding to expand facilities at the historic port of Suakin, the head of the board of directors, Abdul Gadir Abu Ali, said in an interview.
The African nation would repay the sum over 30 years, he said.
The Chinese firm is competing with a Qatari company, Abu Ali said, declining to give its name.
Qatar agreed with Sudan to develop Suakin seaport in March 2018, about a year before long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir was ousted in a popular uprising. The deal wasn’t finalised.
DP World has expressed interest in developing the southern terminal at Port Sudan, according to a person familiar with the discussions who asked not to be identified. Port Sudan is the country’s main maritime transit point.
Sudan in 2019 suspended a contract with by International Container Terminal Services, a Filipino company, to operate the facility.
Sudan witnessed an increase in interest in its coasts, which are located in a strategic circle for trade and transport at the entrance to the Suez Canal.
In addition, Russia has moved forward with plans for a naval logistics base initially agreed during Bashir’s reign. At the same time, a US warship recently docked in the country for the first time in decades.
China Harbour is already developing a port for shipping livestock at Haidob, south of Port Sudan.
A DP World spokesman said it didn’t comment on “market speculation.”
Sudan has an important strategic point in the global trade movement, which makes its ports the focus of international attention, for which countries around the world compete.
Meanwhile, countries see expanding their work in other ports as part of their sovereignty and in trade expansion.