Djibouti Opens New Port

  • As Rickmers Trust Wraps Up Sale of First Five Ships to Navios

Djibouti has formally inaugurated the Doraleh Multipurpose Port (DMP), a versatile port complex which is part of Djibouti’s four mega port projects, the country’s port authority said.

Namely, the new projects include four new ports “aimed at providing world-class logistics platform for shipping“, a liquefied natural gas facility, oil terminal, and two new airports.

“The new facilities will vastly improve the efficiency and ease of doing business in the Horn of Africa,” Djibouti Ports & Free Zones Authority (DPFZA) added.

The complex, opened on Wednesday, May 24 features a container terminal with the yard capacity of 200,000 TEUs, a break bulk terminal of 6 million tons/year capacity and a bulk terminal of 2 million tons/year capacity along with a RoRo terminal with 40,000 vehicle park slots.  The port, the development of which cost USD 590 million, has the capacity to accommodate 100,000 DWT vessels.

“With this new world-class infrastructure, Djibouti confirms its position as a major trading hub for the continent. We are proud to show the world our capacity to deliver major infrastructure projects – some of the most technologically advanced on this continent,”  DPFZA Chairman Aboubaker Omar Hadi said.

The project was launched in 2015 and was financed jointly by DPFZA and China Merchant Holding (CMHC). The port was equipped by the Chinese firm ZPMC and ships have already started calling at the facility, the port authority said.

In the meantime, cash-strapped Rickmers Trust Management, Singapore-based trustee-manager of Rickmers Maritime, has completed the sale of the first five of fourteen vessels to Navios for a total of USD 59 million, the company said.

The sale is part of the trust’s winding up process as the company is faced with severe liquidity issues.

As informed, the batch of five 4,250 TEU vessels is under senior loan facilities (the BNP Facility) extended by the lenders of the BNP Syndicate, made up of BNP Paribas, ING Bank NV, Singapore Branch, The Bank of Nova Scotia Asia Limited, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Limited, Singapore Branch.

The vessels are employed on charters expiring in 2018 and early 2019 at a net daily charter rate of USD 26,850, Navios Partners CEO Angeliki Frangou said earlier.

The trust has received proceeds of USD 24.7 million from the sale, up from the USD 20 million indicated in an announcement on 14 May 2017, which have been placed in an escrow account for distribution to unsecured creditors, after the settlement of costs associated with the winding up of the trust.

In addition, a buyer-related entity has assumed the secured loan of the BNP Facility, releasing the trust from the related obligations worth USD 34.3 million, the trust said.

The sale of the remaining nine vessels secured under senior loan facilities extended by the lenders of the HSH Syndicate (comprising HSH Nordbank AG and DBS Bank Ltd) has not yet been completed. The sale of these vessels is subject to consent by the HSH Syndicate.

“The trustee-manager is seeking the requisite consents and release of mortgages in order to effect the sale of the remaining vessels as soon as possible in order to avoid operating liens and/or vessel arrests and minimize cash burn so as to maximize recoveries to all unsecured creditors. The trustee-manager will advise the specific amount of recoveries to unsecured creditors via their respective agents and trustees and expects to commence the distribution of cash recoveries when the sale of the remaining vessels has been completed,” the trust said in an update.

World Maritime News