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Press Release - Mark Lowcock Briefing about the Severe Congestion at Aden Port

January 10, 2019

The Port Corporation reviewed the report of the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs & Emergency relief Coordinator that Mr. Mark Lowcock submitted to the Security Council on 9 January 2019 that stated (quote); “Severe congestion at Aden port also remains a problem. Despite some recent progress, WFP still has nearly 500 containers stuck in Aden port.” The Corporation is surprised to see such a text despite the fact that it published a Press Release (PR) on 30 December 2018, which clearly states the circumstances at the port, and which was in response to the Secretary-General's report on the same subject on 28 December 2018 to the Security Council. In its earlier PR the Corporation admitted the existence of congestion, but noted that it was not as severe as mentioned, and was not causing delays to relief shipments. What is said about the diversion of part of the relief cargo to the port of Salalah in Oman as a result of this congestion is inaccurate. The diversion resulted from the performance failures of those engaged in this activity. Aden port has provided the World Food Program (WFP) with many facilities, for example: the Ma’alla Container Terminal (MCT) with all its equipment and staff. The MCT can provide storage space for 120-160 thousand containers per year. WFP was exempted from vessel shifting fees and given a special tariff for container handling. The port also confirms its ability to accommodate the consignments sent to Oman, provided that coordination with the port management had been carried out in advance. While reiterating its frustration when some exceptional circumstances in the port are exploited to cover mistakes made by aid workers, the Corporation will not hesitate to respond and reveal the facts to counter statements that have the effect of harming the reputation of the port in order to cover the shortcomings of others. Aden port successfully handled a major surge in its activity in 2018 compared to previous years, and even before the war. The port handled more than (7) million tons of dry goods in 2018 compared to (5) million tons in 2017, or nearly 30% growth. Container throughput increased by 19% compared with 2017 when a record tonnage of national container cargo was handled. The management of the port reaffirms its ability to handle relief goods, stresses the need for proactive, ongoing consultations by organizations to ensure that they clearly explain their plans and requirements to port management in advance in order to put in place the conditions for their success, and ours.

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