DP World gross container volumes increase amid softer performance at home

DP World has reported a 2.2 per cent increase in gross container volumes on a reported basis in the first nine months of this year, although throughput in the UAE declined during the period, the Dubai-based port operator said yesterday.

The port operator handled 47.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) during the period, it said. It also handled 21.9 million units at terminals it controls, a 0.3 per cent increase on a reported basis.

The increase in gross levels was attributed to “a robust performance” from Europe and India, while Australia and Latin America had “challenging” conditions.

In the UAE, volumes fell by 6.7 per cent year on year to 11.1 million TEU because of a drop in “lower-margin transshipment cargo” – goods that are meant for markets other than the UAE.

DP World expects new developments in the Netherlands, India, UK and Turkey to counter a soft near-term global trade growth outlook, according to the group’s chairman, Sultan bin Sulayem.

“We will continue to maintain capital expenditure discipline by bringing on capacity in line with demand, while focusing on targeting higher margin cargo, improving efficiencies and managing costs to drive profitability,” Mr Sulayem said. “Given the performance in the first nine months, we are well placed to meet full-year market expectations.”

DP World said in August it plans to slow down the expansion of its flagship Jebel Ali Port because of softer market conditions amid a grim global trade outlook.

The Nasdaq Dubai-listed company last year had planned to spend US$1.6 billion on a fourth terminal in Jebel Ali, to boost capacity by 16 per cent to 22.1 million TEU by 2018.

DP World is now delaying the 1.5 million TEU expansion of Terminal 3 at Jebel Ali into next year, and will delay construction on Terminal 4, and did not give a new date of completion.

The port operator’s net profit attributable to equity holders before separately disclosed items in the six months to June 30 rose by 50.2 per cent year on year, on a reported basis, to $608 million.

The 50.2 per cent increase was attributed to continued integration of acquisitions of the Jebel Ali Free Zone and Prince Rupert Terminal in Canada.

dalsaadi@thenational.ae

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