Dubai: Frustrated by congestion at Jebel Ali port, where it can take several days for ships to berth, importers of perishable goods in Dubai are searching for alternative ports.

The region's top shipping hub became busier this year when operator DP World moved the cargo operations of its smaller Port Rashid to Jebel Ali.

The Dubai government is redeveloping the Port Rashid area for urban real estate and maritime activities such as cruise tourism.

"Since Port Rashid's shutdown, we have been facing delays in getting our cargo. Vessels have to wait five or six days before they can berth.

"After berthing it can take another two to three days to receive cargo," said Chaudhry Faisal Altaf, a partner in Dubai-based Altaf and Khamas Trading Company.

The company is an importer of fruit, vegetables and other foodstuffs and Altaf said he has to bear additional transport and logistics costs due the port delays.

Demand for foodstuffs has increased during Ramadan, but importers say they do not get their goods when they need them.

"This increases the cost of goods, but we have been told by Dubai Municipality not to increase prices during Ramadan. It is a miserable situation for us," Altaf said.

"When Port Rashid was open, ships used to get immediate berths. We could receive our goods within six hours," he said, adding that he is looking at routing his imports through Abu Dhabi or Oman.

A representative of Jalil Traders, another importer of foodstuffs, said a ship carrying their container of eggs from Holland last month could not berth at Jebel Ali for 10 days.

Later that ship left for India, its next destination, and delivered the eggs at Jebel Ali only on its return visit.

Importers are also paying more in shipping and logistics costs. Shipping lines have imposed a $100 congestion surcharge for each 20-foot container and $200 for 40-foot containers coming to Jebel Ali, said K. Hafeezuddin, managing director of Deepsea Logistics and Distribution.

Some are thinking of using other ports and a few have gone to Ras Al Khaimah. But it is not easy because of limited connections, said Hafeezuddin.

Importers and exporters say ships prefer Dubai due to Jebel Ali's strategic location.

Do you think the congestion at Jebel Ali Port will affect its trade to Dubai? Have you experienced any delay in delivery of goods? What do you think would be the best alternative for affected businesses?Tell us at or fill in the form bellow to send your comments.

Your comments

Obviously the concerns of the customers echoes all over Dubai. Alternative is to ship goods into Sharjah ICD via Khorfakkan port. This ICD is so ideally located in Sharjah that core business areas in Sharjah and Dubai can easily reach and access their good out from ICD. Perhaps a good and detailed article from Gulfnews can throw the spotlight on this alternate route.
Posted: September 07, 2008, 11:19

I think DPW should look into a possibility to use Fujairah port as an alternative for the time being and truck the containers to Jabel Ali port which will save time and the cost for the shipping lines as well as for the customers.
Posted: September 07, 2008, 10:14

Yes off course it effects Dubai business for example the event of Eid is very near and every one is looking for new cloths, shoes and other things if the garment container is not released before Eid, the importer looses and it will affect his company as well as all his employees
Posted: September 07, 2008, 08:32