A Dubai company has won a contract worth an estimated US$8.1 billion (Dh29.75bn) to supply food to American troops serving in Afghanistan.Anham will take over from the long-standing supplier Supreme Foodservice, which has been embroiled in billing dispute with the Pentagon.
Anham was awarded the deal after a month-long competition and welcomed the news, saying it was grateful for the opportunity to expand its support to "those serving around the world".
"We have a long track record of conducting large-scale, successful operations in the most demanding conditions," it said.
"Whether it is our support of the US troops and state department in Iraq, Kuwait and Jordan or the United States army in Afghanistan, we deliver the best services on time and within budget," it added.
The Pentagon's current contract with Supreme in Afghanistan has been in place since 2005, during which time it has spent about $6.8bn.
But this year it began reducing its payments to Supreme after the Pentagon claimed to have overpaid by $750 million.
The existing contract comes to an end in December but Supreme has been awarded an interim "bridge" contract that ends a year later.
Anham will not take over full control of operations until some months after that.
The defence logistics agency (DLA), the Pentagon's logistics arm, has struck an interim deal with Supreme worth an estimated $1.5bn, which will involve the company continuing to conduct deliveries for up to a year while Anham gets up to speed, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Anham will have six months to "ramp up" before it starts to gradually take over some of the 250 delivery locations Supreme supplies in Afghanistan, reported the Journal.
"The award of the interim contract by DLA to Supreme Group reflects the excellent service which we have delivered to the war fighters in Afghanistan for … more than six years," Supreme said.
The company has pledged to work closely with the DLA and Anham to ensure a "smooth transition".
Stacey Hajdak, a spokeswoman for the DLA, was quoted in the Journal as saying that while Supreme's contract remained in effect until December 12 next year, it could end earlier if Anham completed the transition quicker.
"The bridge was to guarantee that there's no interruption in the support that we give to the war fighter," Tom Daley, the deputy director of the agency's subsistence directorate told the Journal.
"We want to make sure that there's someone there providing food," he added.
US combat forces are due to withdraw completely from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 but the retreat is already under way. By late September this year the US aims to have 68,000 US troops left in the country.
Anham has its headquarters in Dubai and was created by the principals of Arab Supply and Trading of Saudi Arabia, GMS Holdings of Amman, Jordan; and HII-Finance Corporation of Vienna, Virginia, US.
The company was awarded a $2.2bn contract in 2010 by the US defence department to provide logistical support to US troops in Iraq, Kuwait and Jordan.from the national.