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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

DP World expects 10% growth in 2017 gross container volumes

Stronger-than-expected recovery in global trade helped the Dubai-based port operator outperform the market

DP World is set for a 10 per cent growth in gross container volumes in 2017 as global trade recovers. Isabel Infantes / AFP
DP World is set for a 10 per cent growth in gross container volumes in 2017 as global trade recovers. Isabel Infantes / AFP

DP World, the world’s fourth-biggest port operator, expects gross container volumes in 2017 to grown 10 per cent on the back of a strong revival of the global trade.

“The recovery of global trade in 2017 has been stronger than expected and we are pleased to have outperformed market growth once again,” DP World group chairman and chief executive Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said in a statement on Sunday. “We are on course to deliver approximately 10 per cent growth in gross volumes for 2017, and look forward to continued growth in 2018.”

DP World’s gross container volumes increased by 13.5 per cent year-on-year on a reported basis in the third quarter of 2017. Growth growth was reflected across three regions -- the Middle East and Africa, Europe and the Americas, according to an October statement. The firm also reported 33.9m twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of gross throughput for the first half of 2017, an 8.2 per cent increase over the same period last year.

Global trade has suffered in the past few years on the back of a slowdown in economic growth as demand plummeted amid lower oil prices. It has since recovered, especially, in the second half of last year. The global economy is projected to expand at 3.6 per cent in 2017 and 3.7 per cent in 2018, compared to 3.2 per cent in 2016, according to the IMF.

DP world said trade opportunities, diversification of its business across the supply chain and exploring smart innovation technologies were the key stand outs for company’s operations in 2017, which included more than US$1 billion in capital expenditure.

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In September the company took over two state-owned maritime entities in Dubai for $405 million, its second acquisition of assets in the UAE in three years after buying the Jebel Ali free zone owner in a $2.6bn acquisition. The Nasdaq Dubai-listed firm said at the time that the acquisitions are expected to be concluded by the end of the first quarter of 2018 and the Drydocks deal is subject to the completion of the company’s on-going debt restructuring.

Last month, the company acquired a further 66.67 per cent stake in Brazil’s Empresa Brasileira de Terminais Portuários (Embraport), making it the sole owner of the largest private multi-modal port terminal in Latin America's largest container port. DP World, which already held a majority stake in the terminal, through a partnership with Brazil-based Odebrecht Transport (OTP), said it had acquired the remaining stake from OTP, following approvals from Brazil’s anti-trust regulator.

The expansion at Prince Rupert in Canada, which opened for business; opening of a cruise terminal at DP World Limassol in Cyprus, beginning of work on a new logistics centre in Rawanda’s Kigali and at a new terminal project in Posorja in Ecuador are among the other operational highlights of the year.

“All of this happened to a backdrop of continued revenue growth, proof that we have a robust portfolio of businesses and a successful strategy to ensure the sustainable growth of our company,” Mr Sulayem said.