x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Bumper cargoes set Mina Zayed port apart

Container volumes at Abu Dhabi's Mina Zayed port have surged by 36 per cent, defying a regional decline of 7 per cent and making the emirate a lone bright spot after the global downturn.

Container volumes at Abu Dhabi's Mina Zayed port have surged by 36 per cent, defying a regional decline of 7 per cent and making the emirate a lone bright spot after the global downturn. The increase to 530,000 containers last year came as the emirate's population grew and large projects such as the Yas Marina Formula One circuit were built, port officials say. By contrast, global container traffic fell by 12 per cent last year, according to Drewry Shipping Consultants, as declining global trade decreased charter rates and forced many shippers to the brink of bankruptcy.

The effects of the slowdown could also be seen in Abu Dhabi as general cargo - which includes steel, timber, cement, grains and vegetable oil - fell by 4 per cent. Motor vehicles handled at the port also fell by 59 per cent to 38,000, compared with 93,000 last year, as makers cut output and inventories rose at local dealerships. This year, based on market studies of infrastructure projects in the pipeline, officials are forecasting slower container growth of 8 per cent to 572,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), the basic industry measure. This will bring the port close to capacity of 600,000 TEUs.

"It was a fantastic year for us," said Mana al Mana, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi Terminals, which is managed by DP World and owned by the Abu Dhabi Ports Company and Mubadala Development, two government-backed companies. Mina Zayed is considered a mid-sized port and is among the top six in the Gulf. It handles about 5 per cent of the traffic of the Gulf's largest gateway, Jebel Ali in Dubai. Other major Gulf ports include Bandar Abbas in Iran, and Khor Fakkan on Sharjah's east coast.

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