UAE-based independent port operator and logistic company Gulftainer’s $600 million concession to develop and operate the port of Wilmington in the US state of Delaware is a “really big deal” for the state and has the potential to create thousands of jobs, according to Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock.
The ports deal, which was signed by Gulftainer subsidiary GT USA in late September, marks the largest ever run by a UAE company in the United States, as well as the largest investment ever made by a private UAE company in the country.
Speaking to Arabian Business during a recent visit to the UAE, Bullock said that the deal has the potential to create “double digit growth in the number of jobs”, although he declined to give a specific forecast.
“If you just run the models, the economic activity can double the growth of jobs [in and around the port,” he said. “Current direct and indirect unemployment around the port is currently about 5,000 or 6,000.
“Our first priority is to maintain the employment we already have, and then provide a path forward for the port to grow. We’ve accomplished [these goals] and the third is to create new jobs. We’ll see job creation. Whether it’s 1,000 jobs or 5,000 jobs remains to be seen,” he added
Plans for the port also include the development of cargo terminal capabilities, as well as the establishment of a training facility for the ports and logistics industries that is expected to train and upskill as many as 1,000 people each year.
Bullock added that the deal – and others like it – can help bridge the cultural gap between the US and UAE.
“It’s very powerful. Some of the hesitation in the United States is kind of from the fear of the unknown,” he said. “We are different and that’s okay. But we have a lot more similarities than differences.”For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.