QTerminals, the recently-established operator of the first phase of Hamad Port in Qatar, is scouting for opportunities in the Black Sea region as part of its strategy to expand internationally.
The terminal operating company, jointly established by Mwani Qatar (51%) and Milaha (49%), has already zeroed in two to three projects and initial due diligence has been undertaken, its chief executive Neville Bissett told reporters here on the sidelines of a function to mark the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).
“At the moment we are very carefully looking at opportunities in the Black Sea. We are also looking at the sub-continent,” said the official of QTerminals, whose container traffic averages 105,000 to 106,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) per month.
The proposed projects are in those countries with extensive seacoast lines, Bissett said without disclosing further details, citing confidentiality pact.
The Black Sea, which lies between southeastern Europe and Asia Minor, is bordered by six countries — Romania and Bulgaria to the West; Ukraine, Russia and Georgia to the North and East; and Turkey to the South. The sea has an area of 168,500 square miles (excluding the Sea of Azov, a length of 730 miles) and a depth of 7,257 feet.
More than 16% of the world’s container traffic flows between Europe and Asia, allowing the Gulf Co-operation Council ports to capitalise on the thriving global shipping business, a study by A T Kearney said; adding demand for international trade coupled with the existing global ports network is another factor in the Gulf’s marine transport boom.
“QTerminals, at present, is carefully looking at 2-3 projects and we are hopeful of coming off in the next six months. We have started the initial due diligence and we are looking at whether those projects will be viable before we jump in,” he said.
Although QTerminals had initially proposed to go independently, it is now in talks with CHEC (after signing the MoU) on working together, he said.
Opportunities exist either in the ongoing operations in the developed ports, or may be in Greenfield to build the ports, wherein CHEC’s expertise can come in, Bissett said.
“We look forward to high quality opportunities wherever in the world. QTerminals on its own is making international foray but we also look international with CHEC as a partner,” he said.
Highlighting that QTerminals looks forward to working with CHEC in different projects and geographical locations as part of international expansion; he said “we will be looking at multiple projects, funding, design, construction, operation and managing the entire gamut within the industry.”
He said the funding could be done internally and some through banks as well as other investment vehicles but the thrust should be to identify right opportunities.
QTerminals' current operations in Hamad Port include a container terminal with a capacity of 2mn TEUs and general cargo, roll-on roll-off and livestock terminals with a capacity of 1.7mn tonnes and 500,000 vehicles annually.
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