The UAE's Gulftainer has signed an agreement to co- develop and operate Ust-Luga Port near St Petersburg in Russia for a total cost of US$275mn.
The deal was signed in Sochi on the Black Sea, between Badr Jafar, Managing Director of the Crescent Group and Vice Chairman of Gulftainer, and Ust-Luga Port Company Chairman Valeriy Israylit. The deal is believed to be the largest UAE private company investment in Russia.
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 EU.
"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," Peter Richards commented.
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 170mn tonnes of cargo when fully developed.