Asia-Pacific port leaders agree to compromise on competing transatlantic container project


The Asia-Pacific region of 15 countries, in a joint statement released Wednesday, signaled it is willing to compromise on a bid by the Covidor transatlantic container terminal and its American competitor, DP World.

Covidor has opposed plans to allow DP World to open a $2.5 billion, 500-acre container terminal in Hong Kong.

Allowing DP World to operate it is needed, Covidor, which has international container terminal operations in Singapore, has said, so that the region’s port market can make space for container port developments such as those of London’s Canary Wharf and Hong Kong.

In a statement on its website, Covidor said the joint statement it released in Hong Kong Wednesday “appears to signal a willingness on the part of the ports to work together” to resolve the dispute between the U.S. and its European allies.

“Covidor is pleased with this relative concession by the ports,” the statement read.

But it warned that the political climate is now far less congenial to winning the case as China becomes ever more assertive. It singled out the likely outcome if DP World goes ahead with the planned project as a setback “for the region’s customs and economic integrity.”

China also has expressed concerns over the project and is said to be behind “fake news” broadcasts regarding the issue.

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