Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Gulftainer's growth defies wider industry woes

Gulftainer became the latest Middle East port operator to post a significant increase in trade volume yesterday, despite acrisis facing the global container ship industry.

Gulftainer became the latest Middle East port operator to post a significant increase in trade volume yesterday, despite acrisis facing the global container ship industry.

The largest privately owned port operator in the world said there had been an overall 16.8 per cent monthly increase in container throughput at its Sharjah Container Terminal (SCT), on top of a 19.3 per cent annual volume increase last year.

Likewise, DP World this month reported a 10 per cent growth in gross global volumes last year.The UAE as a whole grew 12 per cent to 13 million TEU (20-foot Equivalent Unit - a unit for measuring container size) for the year. This comes against a global projected growth rate for port throughput of 7.6 per cent last year, down from 14.1 per cent in 2010, according to the industry analyst company Alphaliner.

"We are delighted to have achieved such successful results for the month of January 2012 and for the year," said Peter Richards, the managing director for Gulftainer. The volume increases ... demonstrate the increased volume of trade in the region, and we remain very optimistic about prospects for the whole region in the coming year."

SCT, adjacent to Sharjah's industrial zone, handles containers on behalf of more than 40 shipping lines - including all of the world's top 20 companies - and accommodates more than 45 per cent of the non-oil manufacturing capacity of the UAE.

It operates three mainports: Sharjah Container Terminal; Khorfakkan Container Terminal; and Ruwais port.In contrast to Gulftainer's positive outlook, other major container lines arefeeling the squeeze. Last week, Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines became the highest-profile container shipping company so far to unveil a fall for last year, when it announced a US$478m (Dh1.75 billion) net loss on revenue down 2 per cent to $9.21bn.

Neptune is regarded as a benchmark for the global container ship industry because of its comprehensive reporting and its reputation as a well-run line.

"Overcapacity and higher fuel costs have negatively affected the whole container shipping industry," said Ng Yat Chung, Neptune's chief executive.

"Despite volume growth, the high fuel costs and lower freight rates impacted our overall results ... We don't have a volume problem, but a rate problem. We will push hard for a rate increase on March 1."

Every non-UAE container shipping company to have reported results for last year so far has announced significant losses. Chile's CSAV has been worst hit with a $1.24bn net loss on $5.15bn revenue.

Denmark's AP Moller-Maersk is also expected to announce significant losses in its shipping division when it unveils full-year figures today.

Container trade contracted for the first time in theDanish firm's 50-year history in 2009 as shipments to the US and Europe from Asia plunged 21 per cent by volume before rebounding in 2010, according to the shipbroker Clarksons.

Figures were on the way down again last year, with shipping lines reporting a 10 per cent fall to $2,500 in average revenue per unit, despite volumes rising 5 per cent to 2.98m units. At the same time, average prices for bunker fuel, the heavy fuel oil that powers ships, were up 33 per cent on 2010.

Mohammed Al Muallem, the senior vice president and managing director for DP World, UAE Region, last month told the Middle East Liner Shipping Conference 2012 that the region's strong performance was due to its involvement with emerging and developing markets that "offered new frontiers for growth for the industry as a whole ... [and as a result] the Middle East is among those regions that have reported decent trade volumes over the past two years."


twitter: Follow our breaking business news and retweet to your followers. Follow us

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 The cooling towers of the Temelin nuclear power plant near the Tyn nad Vltavou in Czech Republic. The country wants to continue expanding nuclear energy capacity despite cancelling a tender to build two new units. David W Cerny / Reuters

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 17, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 17, 2014.

 A sign points the way to an outdoor market popular with German visitors on the Polish side of the German-Polish border. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

In pictures: A decade since the European Union went east

May 1 will mark 10 years since the European Union expanded east, taking in countries like Poland, the Czech Republic and the Baltic states as new members. And though the border region between Germany and Poland is flourishing with trade and cultural exchange, the open border has also brought a sharp rise in crime.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National