By Sarah Townsend
A subsidiary of Crescent Enterprises, it has opened a new cargo terminal at Port Canaveral in Florida, which is expected to create 2,000 jobs and inject $630m into the local economy
UAE-based ports and logistics company Gulftainer has opened a new cargo terminal at Port Canaveral in Florida, becoming the first ever Arab company to be allowed to operate a port facility in USA.
The official opening of the Canaveral Cargo Terminal comes one year after Canaveral Port Authority signed a 35-year operations agreement with GT USA, the US arm of Gulftainer which is headquartered at the port authority’s offices.
The agreement will facilitate a $100 million in infrastructure and equipment at the port, creating 2,000 jobs and contributing $630 million to the local economy, the two companies said.
They added the terminal begins operations with a cargo capacity of 200,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), and there are plans to triple capacity to 750,000 TEUs as the terminal supports an increase in container shipping to the central Florida market and beyond.
Gulftainer is a subsidiary of Sharjah-based conglomerate Crescent Enterprises, run by Badr Jafar. Gulftainer operates ports and logistics businesses in several countries, including the UAE, Iraq, Pakistan, Brazil, Lebanon, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the US.
GT USA is part of Gulftainer’s objective to triple its global cargo capacity in the next ten years across five continents.
Among the attendees at Sunday’s opening ceremony were Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to the US; Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE’s permanent representative to the United Nations; Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally, executive director of the International Trade Administration of the US Department of Commerce, and Richard Biter, assistant secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation.
Crescent Enterprises CEO Jafar said: “Container shipping is a $6 trillion industry that touches 95 percent of the world’s manufactured goods, and we are determined to bring much more of that business to Port Canaveral in the months and years to come.
“What our experience has shown us, time and time again, is that a well-run port can be a huge catalyst for economic growth and development, and we look forward to working with the Canaveral Port Authority and the local community to ensure that this facility becomes an indispensable part of global supply chains.”
Al Otaiba added: “Bilateral trade between the UAE and US has grown almost 80 percent since 2005. In fact, last year the US benefited from a $19 billion trade surplus with the UAE, and was the largest market for US goods and services in the region.”