DP World expects further growth despite trade wars and Iran tensions

DP World is considering more acquisitions in logistics sector as it pursues vertical integration
Mohammed Al Muallem, DP World’s chief executive and managing director
Mohammed Al Muallem, DP World’s chief executive and managing director

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DP World is optimistic about trade growth despite a global economic slowdown, geopolitical tensions and US-China trade war, Mohammed Al Muallem, DP World’s chief executive and managing director told The National.

The company performed "very well" year-to-date and expects continued growth, thanks to its geographic diversity across six continents to help it weather challenges from trade wars to geopolitical tensions, Al Muallem said.

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"If you look at the global climate at the moment, we’ve done very well … we’re very satisfied with what we’ve achieved so far under this very challenging economic environment," said Al Muallem. "We’re confident, as far as DP World is concerned, that because of our geographical spread that we will continue to perform to our satisfaction."

Threats from an escalating trade war between the US and China, the world's two biggest economies, are weighing on the global economy and its trade volumes.

Geopolitical friction in the Middle East, meanwhile, with tensions between the US and Iran, has prompted a US-led coalition of countries, known as the International Maritime Security Construct, to commit troops, planes and ships to accompany and track vessels passing through the Arabian Gulf.

The ongoing saga of the UK's exit from the European Union has also fuelled uncertainty and hurt business confidence.

DP World runs facilities in 40 countries, and remains upbeat about its performance as weaker growth in some markets is mitigated by stronger performance in other regions within its global portfolio.

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"Because we’re spread around the world and we’re in those strategic locations within major trade lanes, that makes us perform well," Mr Al Muallem said, pointing to economic growth in India and African countries.

"I think challenges are there, we have to look at different areas in a different way, but as a company we’re focused and we’re very optimistic that trade will continue to grow around the world," Al Muallem added.

The executive said DP World has not seen an impact from the US-China trade tensions on its operations, pointing to China's economic growth at a "still healthy" rate of 6 per cent in the third quarter of 2019.

DP World, which operates the London Gateway container terminal on the River Thames, said it is adding capacity at the port because it expects continued growth despite Brexit.

"Yes, there are uncertainties in terms of the UK economy itself, this is only momentary, things will be resolved either way whichever way it goes," he said. "But we, as a port, will continue to grow."

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