DP World, the ports operator based in Dubai, is planning its first major expansion of the Jebel Ali Port in three years.
Construction on a 400-metre extension to a Jebel Ali quay will increase capacity by 1 million containers. The new facility at Jebel Ali Container Terminal 2 will be able to handle six large vessels simultaneously, increasing the capacity at any one time to 15 million twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEU), the company said.
The extension project is scheduled for completion by the end of next year. DP World, which operates 60 terminals on six continents, has been growing its container traffic, which accounts for about 80 per cent of revenue.
The company reported a profit of US$281 million (Dh1.03 billion) after tax before separately disclosed items for the first six months of the year, 36 per cent ahead of the same period last year. Its operations in the UAE handled a record 6.1 million containers in the first six months of this year and 3.1 million TEU in the second quarter, also a company record.
The dock extension will be the first large-scale expansion of the Jebel Ali facility since a capacity of 5 million TEU was added in 2008.
DP World's growth has been attracting interest from investors in recent weeks. Nomura Securities last week upgraded its earnings forecast for next year for the global operator by 6 per cent.
"In aggregate, we have been slightly more cautious on the volume outlook but have taken note of the strong performance on margins," the bank said in a research note.
Deutsche Bank, EFG-Hermes and National Bank of Kuwait recently upgraded their ratings on DP World to "buy".