DP World has won the latest in a string of court rulings in an ongoing dispute over Djibouti’s Doraleh Container Terminal.
The Court of Appeal of Hong Kong has dismissed the latest request by China Merchants Port Holdings seeking permission to file a second appeal before the Court of Final Appeal, against its previous decision that DP World’s suit against the company should be heard before Hong Kong Courts – and not the courts of Djibouti.
DP World and joint venture company Doraleh Container Terminal are bringing multi-billion dollar claims against China Merchants Port Holdings, alleging that it induced the government of Djibouti to expel DP World from the country and hand over the Doraleh terminal to China Merchants.
China Merchants Port Holdings investments in other ports and free zone projects in Djibouti, in breach of DP World’s exclusivity rights, will also be examined.
China Merchants Port Holdings argued that the case should be heard by the Djibouti courts, despite Hong Kong being its home jurisdiction.
The High Court of Hong Kong found that the case should proceed in Hong Kong and ordered China Merchants Port Holdings to pay DP World’s legal costs.
The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal against that decision and has now refused to grant China Merchants Port Holdings permission to file a second appeal before the Court of Final Appeal.
The Hong Kong court ruling follows a decision in January 2022 by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) against the Republic of Djibouti, awarding interim compensation of $200 million for damages caused between 23 February 2018 to 31 December 2020.
Damages due to DP World now amount to $686.5 million, plus accruing interest, while the concession itself remains legally in force.
The Doraleh Container Terminal is the largest employer and biggest source of revenue in Djibouti and has operated at a profit every year since it opened.
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