Trade was briskest in the firm's ports in Africa.
It operates terminals in Mozambique, Senegal, Djibouti, Algeria and Senegal. Year-on-year growth for the continent was 30.5 per cent.
"We expect to perform better in 2012 than we did in 2011," said Yuvraj Narayan, the chief financial officer of DP World.
A slump in demand for goods in Europe and other advanced markets has left some operators facing excess capacity.
But DP World has increasingly turned its focus on emerging markets, where demand for container terminal capacity is still growing.
Across its global portfolio, it handled more than 54.7 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) last year, 10 per cent more than the year before.
Like-for-like growth, which discounts business from new terminals, rose 9 per cent.
The firm's portfolio of consolidated terminals, where it has control as defined by accounting standards, handled 27.5 million TEUs during the year.
Like-for-like growth across those terminals was 8 per cent.
Behind Africa, the Americas region was the firm's next best-performing area.
Growth in volumes was 22 per cent in the Americas, where it manages ports in Canada, the Dominican Republic, Suriname, Peru and Argentina. The UAE, where DP World operates its flagship port at Jebel Ali, handled 13 million TEUs last year, 12.4 per cent than the previous year.
The firm's Egypt operations handled 15 per cent more TEUs than in 2010. During last year, the firm added capacity by opening new ports in Karachi, Pakistan and Vallarpadam, India.
Newly acquired terminals also became operational in Suriname, Callao in Peru and Qingdao in China.The company will meet full-year gross profits in line with expectations, said Sultan bin Sulayem, the chairman.
"Whilst uncertainty continues to affect the global economy, our business is still performing well," he said.
"We made good progress through the fourth quarter of 2011 and we will achieve 2011 full year Ebitda [earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation] in line with expectations."
Mr Narayan said DP World would be able to meet a US$3 billion (Dh11.02bn) syndicated loan facility that matures in October.
"We are in a very comfortable position and have more than $4bn on our balance sheet, so it's not an issue," he said.