Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 27 May 2019

DP World reports flat first-quarter volumes amid global trade tensions

Ports operator expects improvement in second half of the year, chairman says

Cranes off-load shipping containers at the Jebel Ali port terminal Dubai. The National
Cranes off-load shipping containers at the Jebel Ali port terminal Dubai. The National

Global ports operator DP World said volumes at its container terminals declined slightly in the first-quarter, citing a stronger performance in the same period last year and uncertainty in the global economy.

Gross container volumes dropped 0.6 per cent from a year ago on a reported basis and 0.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis, DP World said in a statement on Thursday. The Dubai-based company handled 17.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in the first quarter across its global terminals.

"We have seen softer volumes in 1Q 2019 due to a strong prior year performance and general caution in some markets given the current uncertainty in the macro-environment," Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World's chairman, said."While we expect the recent trends to continue in the second quarter, we do expect an improvement in the second half of the year,"

The state-owned ports operator posted a drop of 8.8 per cent in container volumes in the UAE, which handled 3.5m TEUs in the first quarter, due to the "challenging macro-environment" and loss of lower-margin cargo, it said.

At a consolidated level, DP World's terminals handled 9.2 million TEUs during the first quarter, a 0.8 per cent decline on a reported basis and 3 per cent drop on a like-for-like basis, it said.

Among its regions, Asia Pacific and the Indian subcontinent's gross volumes grew 3.5 per cent in the first quarter year-on-year. Gross volumes for Europe, Middle East and Africa, including the UAE, dropped 4.1 per cent, while the Americas and Australia fell 3.7 per cent.

Last month DP World posted a 10.2 per cent increase in annual profit driven by acquisitions and growing global trade despite trade tensions and geopolitical headwinds. It made a profit attributable to owners after separately disclosed items of $1.3 billion (Dh4.77bn) from $1.18bn in 2017.

DP World projected capital expenditure in 2019 to reach $1.4bn, with investment planned mainly into the UAE and in its port operations in Ecuador, Somaliland, Senegal and Egypt, the company said.

Updated: April 25, 2019 04:03 PM