DP World official: Jebel Ali isolated in freight crisis
The Middle East, and Jebel Ali Port in particular, is relatively isolated from the freight crisis in the container shipping sector, Mohammed Al Muallem, senior VP and MD, DP World UAE Region, told TOC Middle East in Dubai.
Al Muallem said that while demand on key maritime shipping routes had fallen, leading to major decreases in freight rates, Middle East ports will grow at a forecast 5.1% in 2015, higher than the 4% growth in Chinese ports, and 2% overall global growth for the year.
Al Muallem said that “future ready” GCC ports were resilient, serving economies driven by high consumption and robust industry.
“We are fortunate in the region that our populations are growing and that per capita income is high,” Al Muallem is quoted as saying by Seatrade Maritime. “The effect [of today’s freight crisis] on growth in our region is much less than [on] others.”
Regional port capacity will reach 55m TEU by 2020, while utilisation of that capacity remains high at more than 70%. Some 11.9m TEU were handled at Jebel Ali, Al Muallem’s flagship container terminal with his region of responsibility, in the first nine months of 2015.
This represents an increase of 4% year-on-year, after the port saw throughput of 15.2m TEU last year.
Despite the challenges in the shipping sector and mixed regional sentiment, DP World remains confident of significant growth at Jebel Ali Port, with plans to add the 3.1m TEU first phase capacity at Terminal 4, by 2018.
This will bring total port capacity to 22.1m TEU. Terminal 4, being built on a man-made island parallel to Terminal 2, will eventually have 6m TEU capacity.
In the UAE, in addition to Jebel Ali’s plans, 2m teu of additional capacity will come on at Khorfakkan and 2m teu at KPCT Abu Dhabi, while 2m teu will be added at Sohar in Oman, and 1m teu each at Doha New Port, Qatar, and Dammam in Saudi Arabia, all by 2020, he said.