Dubai-based port operator DP World handled a total of 56.1 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), a 2.4 per cent increase in gross containership volumes across all its ports around the world compared to the previous year.

The growth of container volumes was driven mainly by DP World’s ports in Asia Pacific and the Indian subcontinent, where gross volumes increased by 6.2 per cent to 26.2 million TEUs.

The next strongest region was Europe, Middle East and Africa, although the region did see a decline of two per cent in gross container volumes in 2012, due in part to divestments of ports in the UK, Yemen and Russia.

However, taking these divestments into consideration, the consolidated volumes for the region show a 0.5 per cent increase. The UAE, where DP World’s flagship Jebel Ali port is situated, showed a particularly strong level of growth with throughput increasing by 1.9 per cent to 13.3 million TEUs compared to 2011.

Gross volumes in the Americas and Australia increased by 4.3 per cent, but consolidated volumes show a decline of 10.4 per cent with a total of 2,782,000 TEUs.

Group chief executive Mohammed Sharaf said in an official statement that DP World struggled with a “challenging” second half of 2012, but said it is in line to hit its earnings targets for the year. Gross container throughput across DP World’s global portfolio of terminals fell by one per cent in the third quarter, with 14.2 million TEUs recorded.

DP World pulled out of its joint ventures in the Port of Aden in Yemen in September last year, as well as Tilbury in the UK and Australia’s Adelaide port in January and July respectively. The operator also announced on 22 October that it has sold its share in Russia’s Port of Vostochny, one of the country’s largest terminals.

During 2013 DP World will be expanding its port capacity at its Dubai port of Jebel Ali, Santos in Brazil and the London Gateway in the UK.