DUBAI (United Arab Emirates) — International port operator DP World announced Monday that it had sold a stake at Jebel Ali Port and other assets to one Canada’s largest pension funds. This move will allow the Canadian group to expand its reach into the crown jewel of Dubai-based company.

This transaction is almost two years after Dubai’s DP World reached a deal to invest $4.5 billion in Canadian infrastructure investor Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (or CDPQ) to fund their joint venture, which already spans four continents and has 18 terminals.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, CEO of DP World, said that the sale will help reduce the company’s debt burden. This apparent reference to global supply chain snarls which have sent labor and production costs soaring.

CDPQ and DP World will jointly invest $2.5 billion in Jebel Ali Port. The Jebel Ali Free Zone, National Industries Park and Jebel Ali Port will be redeveloped.

The companies stated that additional investors could acquire a stake up to $3Billion. Deals are expected to close before the end of this year.

Jebel Ali Port is one of the largest ports in the world and it sits on the east side of the Arabian Peninsula. It also houses the busiest container-handling facility in the region. Dubai’s main economic development zone is the free zone adjacent to the port. This allows companies to sort and assemble their products without having to clear customs.

Emmanuel Jaclot (CEVP), CDPQ’s executive Vice President, stated that the transaction provided the global retirement fund with “exposure to new fast growing markets and trade routes through Africa and South Asia.”

According to the companies, the assets will be retained within the DP World Group while day-to-day operations will not be affected.

DP World was founded in Jebel Ali Port. It now has operations as far as Brisbane, Australia and Prince Rupert (Canada). The Emirati government has been able to leverage the company’s aggressive expansion into East Africa.

DP World, a government-owned investment company, has been restructured and is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dubai World. Dubai delisted the state-controlled firm in early 2020 as it tried to repay debts owed by its parent company. This was due to an economic slowdown and geopolitical instability that had erupted after the 2014 oil price collapse.