The arbitration rejects the request of the state, decides the judgment on the merits for the concession of Durrës

The arbitration rejects the request of the state, decides the judgment on the

The Court of Arbitration in Washington has rejected the request of the Albanian side for not considering the concession contract for the East Terminal in the Port of Durrës.

The case at the International Court of Justice for the concession contract for the processing of refujo goods by ship in Durrës was filed in April 2023 by the German company EMS APO. The cargo ship processing company rifujo at the Eastern Terminal has requested 40 million euros in compensation for unequal and discriminatory treatment of the contract.

The first hearing in Washington took place on September 18, 2023. Furthermore, the Albanian state or the responsible party has submitted on January 19, 2024 a request to address the objections to jurisdiction as a preliminary question in accordance with Article 41(2) of the ICSID Convention and ICSID Arbitration Rule 44. So the Albanian state has requested the non-jurisdiction of the case. If this request were accepted by ICSID, the case would be dismissed.

But the Court does not accept the state's preliminary request for lack of jurisdiction and decides on the merits of the concession contract.

"The Tribunal issues Procedural Order No. 3 regarding the respondent's request to address objections to jurisdiction as a preliminary question; as a result, the objections to jurisdiction are merged with the merits of the dispute", quoted in the ICSID decision on 24 February 2024.

The concession contract between the Albanian state and the German company EMS-Fehn-Group (ie EMS Shipping & Trading GmbH) was concluded in May 2013. The contract stipulates that the implementation period extends for a period of 35 years from 2013 to 2048. EMS-Fehn-Group established the Albanian Port Operator EMS Shpk. (EMS APO) as an operational unit in Durrës. The contract gives EMS-Fehn-Group/EMS APO the right to process reflow cargo, general cargo and project cargo at the East Terminal.

The conflict between the parties started, as the company's leaders have previously claimed for Monitor in 2020, when the Albanian institutions deliberately hindered their activity after giving preferential treatment to the private operator in Porto Romano, in order to continue occupying the space of the port of Durrës for the development of the "Durres Yahts Marina" project.

While the Durrës Yacht & Marina project that coincides with the development of a yacht port, the construction of 13 thousand apartments and hotels will be developed on the land of the current port of Durres, including the occupation of 90% of the land on which the concessionaire company operates. For the managers of the company, the agreement for "Durrës Yachts Marina" contradicts itself as it overlaps with the concession contract of EMS-Fehn-Group.

In July of last year, the Durrës Port Authority started interventions for the removal of the German company in violation of the concession contract according to its leaders. The reason for the intervention was to pave the way for the development of the Durrës Yahts Marina project, for the first phase of the construction of apartment buildings.

At that time, leaders of the concessionaire company EMS APO, in addition to raising concerns about violations of the law, claimed that they are also being harmed by the high drop in the flow of vessels for processing, by uncertainties regarding the future of EMS APO due to the conversion of the port of Durrës in a pleasure port./ Monitor

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