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DP World still evaluating South American greenfield port

Dubai: Global terminal operator DP World is no closer to a possible investment on a new Greenfield project in South America despite a series of discussions with senior government officials.

DP World has been linked with an investment in a new port in Ecuador and has held discussions with members of the Ecuadorean government including its President, Rafael Correa.

“Ecuador is still premature … We have visited the place. We have seen the location [and now] we are evaluating the market,” said DP World Chairman Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem.

Sulayem, along with DP World Group Chief Executive Mohammad Sharaf, has previously met with Correa in Ecuador to discuss the project in the Gulf of Guayaquil, 430 kilometres south-east from Quito, the capital.

Last month, Ecuador’s Minister of International Trade Franciso Rivadeneira said he would meet with Sulayem during his visit to the Dubai. Rivadeneira said the port will need $6 (Dh22.04) to $8 billion of investment.

But DP World has not indicated on when, or if, it would look to move on the project. Sulayem said DP World is “still in the process of identifying the opportunity” and will continue to meet with the Ecuadorean government.

DP World has around $2.5 billion in cash and has forecasted a capital expenditure of $1.95 billion in 2014 for its projects.

Elsewhere, DP World said it will continue to look at focus on Africa and Latin America.

“The company has good liquidity and we’re selective where we go,” Sharaf said.

And while the company is not willing to rule out any market just now, Yuvraj Narayan, Chief Financial Officer, said it will be focusing on “origin destination cargo” and “emerging markets.”