Union warns against return to Port Sudan after Philippine bid fails
The Alternative Trade Union of Port Workers has warned against returning to the port of Sudan’s Port Corporation after a Philippine bid for the operation of the port was rejected due to problems in the tender details.
Osman Tahir, the head of the Alternative Union told Radio Dabanga that the president directed meeting with a delegation from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to reach an appropriate formula to enter into real partnerships and investments in Port Sudan raises questions.
He described the UAE offer for the operation of the container port as weak, pointing out that the specialised committee preferred the Philippine offer before recommending its rejection because of issues related to the details of the bid.
He called on the government to be transparent and disclose the details of the administrative agreement with the UAE, warning that it might lead to privatisation and the displacement of workers.
In July, the Philippine company International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) was declared as the preferred bidder to operate, manage and develop the South Port Container Terminal in Port Sudan.
The Manila-based Philippine Star newspaper reported that in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on 13 July 2018, ICTSI said the state-run Sea Ports Corp of Sudan had confirmed it as the preferred bidder to operate and manage the container terminal under a 20-year concession.
In May this year, the Union renewed its warning of the privatisation of the southern port of Port Sudan, highlighting that the policy will result in the displacement of tens of thousands of workers.
At the time, Union head Tahir, described to Radio Dabanga the statements by the Ministry of Transport which denied the sale, the privatisation of the port, or the displacement of workers as contradictory.
He said that the minister’s talk about bids for Saudi, French, Philippine, and Emirate companies to operate Port Sudan without disclosing the terms of the contract indicates that the government is seeking to privatise ports.
He explained that according to the leaks, the bids submitted were less than one third of the revenues of the southern port of Port Sudan.
He expressed surprise at the objectives of the Ministry of Transport for the privatisation of the port and pointed to the frequent visits of the Minister of Transport to France and the Philippines.
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