US and China clash to rebuild Sudan state shipping company
By Mohammed Alamin (Bloomberg) Sudan’s state shipping company is considering a Chinese bid to revamp a reduced one-boat fleet as the African nation targets increased exports to help save the economy.
China’s state-owned COSCO Shipping proposal comes as authorities discuss with the U.S. Export-Import Bank and other potential foreign investors on ways to resuscitate the Sudan Shipping Line, the president said. Abdul-Azim Hasab Al-Rasol in an interview in the capital. , Khartoum. He did not give more details on the negotiations.
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The talks between the United States and China are another sign of a struggle for influence in Africa, where Beijing has made major investments under the Belt and Road Initiative and the influxes on it. the continent eclipsed the United States.
China COSCO did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent by email on Monday, a public holiday.
For Sudan, the stimulus packages would be part of an ambitious overhaul being considered for infrastructure and the transport sector in the wake of the 2019 revolt that toppled longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir. The transitional government is rushing to rebuild an economy ravaged by decades of mismanagement and sanctions. Last year, the United States lifted its nearly three-decade designation of Sudan as the sponsor state of terrorism.
Sudan relies on other lines to bring vital supplies of fuel, wheat and fertilizer to its Red Sea ports, and “our national shipping carrier can help the country save a lot of hard currency if we grant the exclusive right to transport all exports and imports ”. Al-Rasol said.
Rise in port exports
After several years of contraction, Sudanese gross domestic product is set to grow 0.4% in 2021, according to the International Monetary Fund. Exports soared nearly 70% to $ 2.53 billion in the first half, central bank data showed last week.
Al-Rosal said that the restoration of the Sudan Shipping Line, founded about six decades ago and briefly a joint venture with the former Yugoslavia, will be a “long and difficult process”. Its only remaining vessel is a passenger vessel which has been out of service for two years.
The country lost three-quarters of its oil reserves with the secession of South Sudan in 2011 and the president did not say whether the company would seek to ship oil from the landlocked south, which arrives in Port Sudan by pipeline before d ” be transported to world markets.
The Sudan Shipping Line’s short-term plan is to lease ships and buy them in five to ten years. Lloyd’s Register is also conducting a study on how the line can replenish a full fleet, Al-Rosal said.
Ports of Sudan also see Chinese interest. China Harbor Engineering competes with DP World and an unidentified Qatari company for roles in the management and development of facilities on the strategically located coastline.
Sudanese authorities have already called on Lufthansa Consulting GmbH to help with the restructuring of Sudan Airways, one of Africa’s oldest airlines. They are also planning a $ 640 million reconstruction of the country’s destroyed rail network, which could include Chinese aid.
–With help from Alfred Cang and Paul Richardson. © 2021 Bloomberg LP