Stock - DP World
DP World's ongoing claims against China Merchants relate to its container terminal project in Djibouti. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai’s DP World has won another court rulings in its favour in its dispute with Djibouti’s Doraleh Container Terminal. The former is a shareholder and concessionaire in the project.

In the latest verdict, the Court of Appeal of Hong Kong dismissed the latest request by China Merchants Port Holdings seeking permission to file a second appeal before the Court of Final Appeal. This was against the court’s previous decision that DP World’s suit against the company should be heard before Hong Kong Courts, and not those in Djibouti.

DP World and joint venture company Doraleh Container Terminal are bringing multi-billion dollar claims against China Merchants alleging that it induced the Djibouti government to expel DP World from the country and hand over the Doraleh terminal to China Merchants.

What China Merchants was trying to prove
China Merchants argued that the case should be heard by the Djibouti courts, despite Hong Kong being its home jurisdiction. The High Court of Hong Kong agreed with DP World’s arguments that the case should proceed in Hong Kong and ordered China Merchants to pay its legal costs.

The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal against that decision, and has now refused to grant China Merchants permission to file a second appeal before the Court of Final Appeal.

China Merchants’ investments in other ports and free zone projects in Djibouti, in breach of DP World’s exclusivity rights, will also be examined.

The Hong Kong court ruling follows another in January 2022, by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) against the Republic of Djibouti. In this, interim damages of $200 million were awarded for damages caused over the period between February 23, 2018 to December 31, 2020. This was the eighth decision by an international court or tribunal in favour of DP World in its ongoing dispute with Djibouti government. Total damages due to DP World now amount to US$ 686.5 million, plus accruing interest, while the Concession itself remains legally in force.