Gulftainer growth to soar in 2013
Sharjah-based Gulftainer is expected to record a volume increase of 30% in 2013.
The group is continuing to expand its global footprint, with the June takeover of the Gulf Stevedoring Contracting Company (GSCCO) in Saudi Arabia acting as the major driver.
As the operator of the largest number of terminals in the Middle East region, Gulftainer stands to benefit from the considerable growth in export cargos from the region. The rapidly developing petrochemical industries serve as a major factor in offsetting any reduced import volumes.
Peter Richards, Gulftainer’s managing director, said: “The benefit of being privately owned allows the Gulftainer Group to be very nimble and react to changing market conditions.
“Our throughput in 2013 will see an increase of over 30% as a result of strategic acquisitions and a very hands-on management team that keep close to our customers to understand and prepare for changes.”
This announcement by Gulftainer is especially noteworthy, since recent industry trends appear to be moving in the opposite direction.
The Drewry Global Throughput Index, which is published with a two month lag, is highlighting that the market as a whole has continued to stay almost at the 2012 levels, reflecting almost nil growth. Furthermore, recent announcements by other international port management companies showing up to 6% decreases on the same period last year. China has also made statements to the effect that they expect 2013 to be “even worse” than 2008 in terms of global shipping.
Gulftainer acquired the 51% stake in GSCCO in June 2013, allowing it to assume the full management of three Saudi terminals, located in Jeddah and Jubail. This acquisition means that Gulftainer now has a Middle East network that allows access to the Arabian Peninsular from the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman and Arabian Gulf.
The geographical scope of Gulftainer’s terminals and their capabilities not only serves the largest container vessels in the world, but also caters for transhipping to East Mediterranean countries, East Africa, the Indian Sub-continent and Upper Gulf destinations.
Commenting on the company’s recent GSCCO acquisition, Badr Jafar, CEO of Gulftainer’s parent Crescent Enterprises and vice-chairman of Gulftainer, said: “Gulftainer manages more terminals in the Middle East than any other port operator. Having achieved the reputation amongst shipping lines of being one of the fastest terminal operators in the world, Gulftainer is able to take its UAE-honed expertise to terminals in other high-growth markets across the world”.
Jeddah’s NCT has recently undergone significant expansion which will substantially improve the capability of Jeddah Islamic Port. The facility currently consists of 1,654m of quay, 11 cranes, seven of which are super post panamax cranes, with an annual capacity of three million TEUs. Almost 75% of all container traffic to the Kingdom is currently handled through the Port of Jeddah, and it is a major trade gateway for the Kingdom’s container traffic.
Located on the Arabian Gulf, Jubail is home to the development of the largest industrial zone in the world covering 8,000 hectares, comprising petrochemical plants, fertilizer plants, steel works, and an industrial port as well as the world’s largest desalination plant.
Jubail Port is one of the largest industrial ports in the world and currently handles 52 million tonnes of cargo per annum, a figure which is expected to grow substantially in the short to medium-term. JCP is equipped with a 1282m quay, five cranes and has a container handling capacity of 1 million TEU per annum. It is expected that this figure will continue to increase quickly, particularly with the opening of major petrochemical developments in the Jubail Industrial Zone and the planned rail link to Riyadh. GSCCO currently operates 22 commercial berths at the Port, including the open sea tanker terminal.
Further afield, Gulftainer has invested in Brazil and Russia to ensure they are well placed to capitalise on the roaring pace of development in the BRIC economies where annual growth is still reaming strong, compared to the mature economies of Europe and North America.
Richards added: “We look forward to maintaining the Gulftainer track record established over the past 37 years of delivering growth year on year. Historically, organic growth was the ‘Gulftainer engine’, today we are adding growth through our carefully considered investments both regionally and more globally. This is an exciting time for Gulftainer and we look forward to increasing our footprint across regional and global markets in the near future.”