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Inditex Backs Maersk’s Bid for New Bangladesh Port Terminal: Report

Zara parent Inditex has reportedly inserted itself into A.P. Moller-Maersk’s attempts to run a new container terminal in Bangladesh set to come online in the summer.

The company wrote government officials in Bangladesh in support of Maersk’s APM Terminals running the Patenga Container Terminal, according to a report Friday from trade publication The Loadstar.

A spokesperson for Inditex could not immediately be reached for comment on the report Friday.

Inditex counted 129 factory suppliers in Bangladesh last year, according to the company’s published data.

The Loadstar reported Inditex’s top executive in Bangladesh Javier Santonja Olcina wrote to government officials in support of Maersk and APM, lauding the two for their efforts around sustainability.

APM has a target of achieving net zero greenhouse emissions by 2040.

The company counts Inditex’s Zara brand as one of its customers, in addition to Nike, Walmart, Ikea, Disney, Unilever and Tesla among other companies.

APM operates terminals, while also providing services such as warehousing storage and transportation. It generated $4 billion in revenue last year with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $1.5 billion.

The Patenga terminal, once completed, is estimated to handle 500,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) annually and is part of the Chattogram port, which changed its name from Chittagong in 2018. The facility serves as the main port in Bangladesh and handled 3.2 million TEUs last year, which was up 13.2 percent from the prior year.

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Maersk and APM entered the picture for Patenga in February as another contender to run the new terminal, which is targeting a July start to operations.

The company is vying for the contract alongside Red Sea Gateway Terminal based in Saudi Arabia, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited in India, PSA International of Singapore and DP World in Dubai.

DP World is the owner of P&O Ferries, a passenger and freight service in the U.K., that was widely criticized in March for an abrupt mass layoff of some 800 ferry workers.

Inditex is not the only group advocating on behalf of APM and Maersk being awarded the terminal contract.

An APM executive, along with the Danish ambassador and Danish head of trade, met with Bangladesh’s shipping minister in February.

“The Danish company, which have been a trusted and reliable partner to Bangladesh since 1985 for inland logistics and supply chain management, is committed to green and sustainable infrastructure development,” the Embassy of Denmark in Bangladesh wrote on its social media page back at the time of the meeting. “APM Terminals of the Maersk Group has a vision for Bangladesh’s Patenga Container Terminal, which is aligned to the ambitious goals for having net-zero CO2 emissions from operations by 2050 or earlier.”

Sustainability has become a major selling point among logistics companies as more and more of their apparel and other customers look to green their supply chains and also provide greater transparency around those efforts to the end consumer.

Inditex, more specifically, has set a net zero emissions target by 2040, along with a number of other initiatives in play.

The apparel company on Thursday said it inked a three-year deal with Infinited Fiber Company to buy 30 percent of Infinited’s recycled textile fiber called Infinna. Inditex estimated it will spend more than 100 million euros ($104.1 million) over the course of the deal.