x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Mina Zayed container shipments surge

Container shipments at Mina Zayed port jump 42 per cent in the first 10 months of this year.

The hub: Abu Dhabi Terminals has experienced a surge in container and general cargo volumes at Mina Zayed port.
The hub: Abu Dhabi Terminals has experienced a surge in container and general cargo volumes at Mina Zayed port.

Container shipments at Mina Zayed port have jumped 42 per cent in the first 10 months of this year. But bulk shipments were nearly flat compared with the same period last year, growing just 5 per cent as the once red-hot property industry levelled off due to the global downturn, analysts said. Abu Dhabi Terminals saw container shipments reach 436,128 containers, compared with 307,536 in the January to October period last year. Container volumes are a good measure of consumer demand and include everything from air-conditioning units to foodstuffs. "Over the last several months, despite all predictions, we have been experiencing a surge in container and general cargo volumes," said Mana al Mana, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi Terminals. By contrast, global shipments are forecast to drop 10.3 per cent this year due to the downturn, according to Drewry Shipping Consultants in the UK.

Abu Dhabi has suffered from a steep drop in car imports, recording a 50 per cent decrease for the first half of the year. Abu Dhabi Terminals, owned by Mubadala Development, the investment arm of the Abu Dhabi Government, and managed by DP World of Dubai, did not disclose its year-to-date results on vehicle shipments. The port complex, which is scheduled to be wound down beginning in 2012 with ships rerouted to the new Khalifa Port being built in Taweelah, also saw strong growth in the cruise terminal industry. The number of passengers disembarking at Mina Zayed rose to 73,654 so far this year from 46,482 in the same period last year, a 58 per cent increase.

General cargo, including bulk, grew from 4.13 million tonnes to 4.35 million tonnes this year. Shipments of construction materials to Yas Island continued throughout the year to build the Yas Marina Circuit in time for the emirate's inaugural Formula One Grand Prix on November 1. But building imports declined for projects on Reem Island, a master-planned development that has seen many sub-developers slow the pace of construction.

"The population of Abu Dhabi is growing, but cargo-wise local construction has been really affected, and so volumes have been reduced," said Dilker CP, a business development manager with Expolanka Freight in Abu Dhabi. While the market for containerised goods as well as importing oil and gas equipment remains strong, the completion of the Yas circuit has brought a lag, Mr CP said. "Formula One is over and now we have to see what the market looks like now."

igale@thenational.ae