French conglomerate to build and run $400m Timor port

The recently independent state of Timor-Leste in the Indonesian archipelago has chosen a French firm to construct and manage the port of Tibar.

Rui Maria de Araújo, the prime minister of Timor Leste, announced in Dili on Wednesday that he expected a final agreement to be signed with the Bolloré Group in the first half of next year.

There were only two bidders for the $400m PPP scheme: Paris-based conglomerate Bolloré and the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company, which is owned by Dubai’s DP World Group. Portugal’s Mota Engil, Belgium’s Besix Group and Philippine International Container Terminal Services entered the race but did not present bids.

The Timorese government has said that the new port will be able to process 1 million tons of cargo a year and would be able to receive commercial and passenger vessels.

The port is an important part of the Timor Leste’s economic plans, which largely revolve around agriculture and tourism.

The state, which occupies the eastern half of the island of Timor, was a former Portuguese colony that was invaded by Indonesia in 1975 and occupied until 1999, during which time more than 100,000 Timorese suffered conflict-related deaths.

The island gained independence in 2002, but more than half the population still live in extreme poverty.

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