"Aqaba Development Corporation Signs MOU with Bouygues Travaux Publics S.A, Bolloré S.A, and Consolidated Contractors Company to Develop and Operate Aqaba New Port Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC), the central development arm of the Government of Jordan in the Aqaba Special Economic Zone, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Bouygues Travaux Publics S.A (Bouygues), Bolloré S.A (Bolloré), and Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) setting out the main principles for their potential collaboration relating to the development of the New Port of Aqaba based on a public -private participation scheme. The MOU was signed on behalf of ADC by its CEO H.E “Shadi Ramzi” Al Majali, and Mr. Dominique Lafont, CEO of Bolloré Ports & Logistics, Mr. Jean-Pierre Margolin, Executive Director for International Development of Bouygues Travaux Publics, and Mr. Ghassan Danan, Area General Manager of CCC.
Mr. Majali noted, “We would like to stress on ADC’s commitment to delivering the New Port of Aqaba without any delay whether by actualizing this potential collaboration or by implementing the project directly”. He added, “It is our obligation to develop the New Port of Aqaba to further enhance the Aqaba Special Economic Zone’s position as a key regional transport, logistics and tourism hub whilst significantly contributing to the long-term economic development of both Aqaba in particular and Jordan in general. ADC is mandated to ensure the successful implementation of this national priority project within the timeframe set by the Government for handing over the current main port site to Al Maabar (Marsa Zayed Project)”.
ADC had announced in November of 2009 that exclusive negotiations had ended with the Aqaba Gateway Group, which was selected at the time through a rigorous tender process as a preferred bidder, since the parties could not reach an agreement over the terms and conditions for development and operation agreement relating to the Project. ADC announced then that it will directly implement the Project through a direct build program whilst considering cooperation with the private sector under alternative schemes.
ADC immediately initiated the direct build program. During the last six months, ADC began the implementation of the relocation of the current port to the new port site in close coordination and collaboration with other major stakeholders such as the Ministry of Public Works and Housing and the utility companies and service providers in the Aqaba Special Economic Zone. Moreover, ADC is carrying out the detailed geotechnical studies for the New Port Project and had initiated the development process through inviting technically and financially qualified contractors and entities to submit their expression of interest letters for the construction of the marine works for the New Port Project.
Subsequently, Bouygues, Bolloré, and CCC approached ADC in December 2009 with a proposal to explore the possibility of their participation in the Project. ADC’s board of directors approved the initiation of discussions with the companies in parallel with the direct build program. The discussions yielded different proposals and alternatives being presented in January, March and May 2010. After due evaluation of the proposals, ADC’s Board decided to enter into a written arrangement with Bouygues, Bolloré, and CCC through signing an MOU to set out the main principles and timeframe for negotiations to implement the Project. Al Majali Added “After careful evaluation and extensive consultation done by ADC’s management and international consultants and further financial analysis, ADC’s Board of Directors and the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) Board of Commissioners approved this MOU. This was followed by a meeting of ADC’s general assembly, representing ASEZA and the Government of Jordan, in which it approved this step”.
This MOU sets an ambitious and aggressive road map with mile-stones for concluding, among other agreements; a development and operation agreement to design, build, operate and maintain as well as finance the New Port of Aqaba under a private-public participation scheme. While this MOU is in effect the process for the construction within the direct build method will be suspended. However, the contractors prequalified under the direct build program will be short-listed for ADC’s other port projects. Be it known , both sides have stipulated within the MOU that they will adopt quick measures to do general works agreed upon between the parties to the MOU through a simple construction contract, such works are to be executed during the negotiations so as to ensure no delay in general construction and delivery time lines.
In fact this project through its implementation as a private-public participation scheme entails the design , construction and operation of a full port infrastructure and general cargo and ro-ro terminal, grain terminal with storage facilities in addition to a marine services port. Furthermore, it entails equipment provision maintenance and also partially financing the New Port Facilities. The scope of this project is approximately USD 540 million to be fully operational including the infrastructure and also the above mentioned terminals.
Mr. Majali stressed that “ADC’s goal to implement the New Port Project in the most efficient manner will be made possible through this potential collaboration with this highly qualified group of companies. The goal remains to ensure that Jordan is provided with a world class port and within the required timeframe while minimizing the financing burden on the Jordanian treasury.” "