x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

DP World's focus shifts in UK with $75m sale of stake

DP World is shedding its stake in Tilbury Container Services, a non-core US asset, to focus on its deepwater port project near London.

DP World has shed its stake in a UK container port company as it focuses its attention on building a deepwater terminal near London.

The ports operator, one of the more profitable assets of Dubai World, sold its 34 per cent stake in Tilbury Container Services (TCS) to Forth Ports, for US$75.48 million (Dh277.2m), DP World announced yesterday.

"The offer from Forth made good sense to us and the decision was taken in line with the changing market dynamics in the liner industry including the rapid escalation in vessel sizes," said Flemming Dalgaard, DP World's senior vice president for Europe and Russia.

"DP World will continue to focus on our other UK businesses in DP World Southampton and at London Gateway."

TCS operates the Tilbury container terminal on the Thames Estuary. Forth Ports now owns 100 per cent of TCS, after also buying the Associated British Ports' stake in the company.

DP World is committed to building the London Gateway deep sea terminal, situated 40km from the capital in Thurrock, Essex.

The £1.5 billion (Dh8.64bn) port is slated to become operational at the end of next year, and process 1.6 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) a day.

Mohammed Sharaf, DP World's chief executive, said in October the port would be able to handle the next generation of container ships, carrying as much as 18,000 TEUs. It is also planned to include Europe's largest logistics park.

The terminal will address Britain's shortfall in port capacity, and hasten the arrival of goods from outside Europe currently distributed from the Dutch deepwater ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, Mr Sharaf said.

DP World operates more than 60 marine terminals worldwide. The company announced in October it would be building a cruise terminal in Dubai, to boost the city's appeal to cruise ship tourism.

The Dubai World subsidiary recorded gross volumes of 14.5 million TEUs in the third quarter of last year.

This was up 10 per cent from 13.1 million TEUs in the same period a year earlier.

fneuhof@thenational.ae