DP World’s UAE operations held back the port operator from registering a more impressive performance across its global portfolio of container terminals in 2016.

The UAE gross container volume fell from 15.6 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in 2015 to 14.8 million in 2016, a year-on-year contraction of 5.3 per cent.

This marks a significant slowdown compared with other regions.

The firm’s operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa region grew 0.9 per cent like-for-like, which does not include the volume from terminals that were commissioned or acquired only in 2016. 

The group’s operations in Asia Pacific and India grew 4.6 per cent while America and Australia contracted  by 2.4 per cent.

Overall the port operator’s gross container volume still managed to increase by 3.2 per cent year-on-year to reach 63.7 million TEU, or  2.2 per cent like-for-like.

Gross Volume ‘000 TEU Full year 2016 Full year 2015 Year-on-year growth (like for like)

Asia Pacific & India Subcontinent

29,587

28,285

+4.6% (+4.6%)

Europe, Middle East and Africa*

26,338

25,985

+1.4%  (+0.9%)

Americas & Australia

7,734

7,430

+4.1% (-2.4%)

Total Group

63,658

61,701

+3.2% (+2.2%)

*UAE Volumes included in Middle East, Africa and Europe region

14,772

15,592

-5.3 % (-5.3%)

Source: DP World

A 2.2 per cent volume increase is still favourable compared to the industry estimated growth of 1.3% for 2016, a DP World statement said.

The group’s consolidated volume under the International Financial reporting Standards (IFRS) is at 29.2 million TEU, a 0.4 per cent increase on a reported basis and some 1.6 per cent lower like-for-like.

According to Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, DP World Group CEO, the company’s overall growth demonstrates the benefits of operating a globally diversified portfolio given the challenging market conditions particularly at Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port.

Apart from the Jebel Ali Port, DP World operates two other ports in Dubai including Mina al-Hamriya and the Mina Rashid cruise and ferry terminals as well as the container terminal in the northern emirate of Fujairah.

Bin Sulayem said he is counting on new developments in Rotterdam (Netherlands), Nhava Sheva (India), London Gateway (United Kingdom) and Yarimca (Turkey) to drive future growth. “We will continue to maintain capital expenditure discipline by bringing on capacity in line with demand,” the executive said citing they will continue to focus on targeting higher margin cargo, improving efficiencies and managing costs to drive profitability.