The vice-chairman of Dubai-based DP World has warned the maritime industry of the dangers of overcapacity in global shipping lines.

Speaking at the World Ports and Trade Summit in Abu Dhabi on 3 April, Jamal Majid bin Thaniah said it is important that the industry prevents overcapacity of shipping lines.

“[The shipping industry must] organise capacity based on supply and demand,” said Bin Thaniah.

Meanwhile, the Middle East continues to move forward with new port projects to accommodate the growing shipping industry.

The GCC states plan to invest a further $15bn in new port projects over the next five years, according to regional projects tracker MEED Projects.

In 2010, the total capacity of the region’s ports was 25 million TEUs (20-foot-equivalent units) and this could expand to as much as 60 million TEUs if all the planned port schemes in the GCC are executed. The UAE’s ports currently have the highest share of cargo volume in the Gulf, estimated to be about 59 per cent of the total.

Gulf port projects
Kuwait 3.4
Oman 3.2
Qatar 5
Saudi Arabia 6.5
UAE 6.9
Source: MEED

The volume handled by UAE ports increased by 12 per cent in 2011, with its ports handling 13 million TEUs. This is set to grow substantially in 2012, with the first phase of the new Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi scheduled to open before the end of this year. Dubai is also moving ahead with projects to expand the capacity of its Jebel Ali Port.

In Oman, an ambitious 20-year project to expand the existing Salalah Port is set to increase the annual capacity from 6 million to 15 million TEUs. In Qatar, work has started on the first phase of the estimated $5bn New Doha Port, which will have a cargo handling capacity of 6 million TEUs.