(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Global container terminal operator DP World will add four million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) new capacity at its flagship Jebel Ali' port's Terminal 3 this year.
The port operator, which handled 55 million TEU across its global portfolio of container terminals during 2013, said the new capacity boost would ensure that it is well placed to handle future demand growth in Dubai. Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said despite the challenging macroeconomic backdrop, the Dubai-headquartered company recorded gross container volumes growth of 0.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis.
"We are encouraged by the volumes handled at our flagship Jebel Ali port, with our UAE operation recording the best year in its history. This reflects the continued growth of Dubai, the UAE and the wider region. The one million TEU expansion of Jebel Ali's Terminal 2 contributed to that record result, and this year, we will add four million TEU new capacity at Terminal 3 to ensure we are well placed to handle future capacity demand in Dubai," said Sulayem.
In 2013, DP World announced plans to spend nearly 3 billion on extending terminal capacity both at Jebel Ali and abroad.
"The second half of the year delivered a stronger performance with volumes growing 3.6 per cent on the prior period on a like-for-like basis. On a reported basis gross volumes declined 1.9 per cent mainly due to the monetisation of one of our Hong Kong assets," the company said in a statement.
Driven largely by an improved performance from Asia Pacific, Australia and UAE terminals, all three reporting regions displayed a stronger performance in the second half of 2013. This was while Europe continues to show signs of stability, DP World said.
DP World's operation in the UAE delivered another record year handling 13.6 million TEUs, representing growth of 2.7 per cent.
"At a consolidated level, our terminals handled 26 million TEU during 2013, a marginally lower like-for-like [performance. Our London Gateway facility and our facility in Brazil, Embraport, both opened for business in the second half of 2013 and we look forward to their contribution during 2014 and beyond," said Sulayem.
"Our full year throughput performance is pleasing, particularly given the softer market conditions we experienced in the first half of 2013. This illustrates the resilient nature of our portfolio which remains well positioned to capture medium to longer-term growth through its continued focus on faster growing markets and origin and destination (O&D) cargo," said DP World's group chief executive Mohammed Sharaf.
He said the quarterly trend of improvement continued into the fourth quarter of 2013 and, while the macroeconomic outlook in some regions remains uncertain, the port operator had made an encouraging start to the current year.
"Economic headwinds combined with limited spare capacity across our portfolio constrained our ability to grow volumes further in 2013. However, the addition of new capacity in 2014 combined with a projected pick-up in global trade should allow us to return to a more normalised growth rate," said Sharaf.