DP World chairman also takes on chief executive role

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem has added the role of chief executive to his chairmanship of DP World as the ports operator feels the impact of slowing growth through its massive port in Dubai.

Mr bin Sulayem, who has served as chairman since 2007, will take over as the company’s group chairman and chief executive with immediate effect, DP World said.

He replaces the former group chief executive Mohammed Sharaf, who abruptly announced his retirement in late-January after 11 years at the helm.

Mr bin Sulayem’s confirmation as chief executive came as the ports operator reported a fall in volumes at its UAE facilities during the fourth quarter of the year, even as volumes across its global footprint increased.

DP World said yesterday that consolidated volumes at its UAE facilities, dominated by Jebel Ali Port, fell 2.9 per cent year- -on-year to 3.7 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) in the three months to the end of December.

World trade growth slowed to just 2.6 per cent in 2015 from 3.4 per cent in 2014, according to estimates from the IMF last month.

The fund has cut its trade growth forecast for 2016 to 3.4 per cent from 4.7 per cent previously, citing developments in China and distressed economies.

“The second half of 2015 was difficult for global trade operators, as various economic headwinds including currency weakness and lower commodity prices adversely impacted trade growth,” said Mr bin Sulayem.

“Despite the uncertain near-term macro environment, and given the high utilisation at our portfolio, we remain confident about the medium to long-term outlook of our industry and continue to invest to meet the future capacity requirements of our customers.”

Gross volumes across DP World’s global footprint grew 1.2 per cent to 15.2 million TEUs during the fourth quarter of the year, although volumes were flat on a like-for-like basis, excluding divestments and new capacity additions.

Total volume growth for the fourth quarter was most brisk among its operations in the Americas and Australia, where volumes rose by 14 per cent to 2.04 million TEUs, although this fell to 3.6 per cent on a year-on-year basis.

DP World expects to open its third berth at London Gateway around the middle of the year, increasing capacity at the port by 600,000 TEU, followed by an additional 2 million TEU at Jebel Ali’s Terminal 3 in the second half of the year.

DP World shares, traded on Nasdaq Dubai, ended the day down 1.23 per cent at $17.60.


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