DP World’s Jebel Ali Port. This year, the company expects capital expenditure to be at $1.2 billion. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

DUBAI: DP World said on Thursday it handled 16.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in the first quarter of 2017 across its global portfolio of terminals.

In a statement, the Dubai-listed ports operator said its gross container volumes grew 5.7 per cent year-on-year from the 15.5 million TEUs reported in the first quarter of 2016, with the growth rate ahead of the industry estimate of 2.6 per cent in the first quarter.

“There are signs of a gradual improvement in the market environment in 2017, and our portfolio has had an encouraging start to the year delivering ahead-of-market growth. Given the encouraging start to the year, we remain well-placed to meet full-year 2017 market expectations,” Sultan Bin Sulayem, group chairman and chief executive officer of DP World, said in a statement.

He pointed out that the company recorded growth in volumes across all three regions where it operates — Asia Pacific and the India subcontinent; Europe, Middle East, and Africa; and the Americas and Australia.

In the first quarter, the Americas and Australia region recorded the most growth in volumes, which rose 7 per cent year-on-year to reach two million TEUs. Asia Pacific and the Indian subcontinent saw year-on-year growth of 5.8 per cent, while Europe, Middle East and Africa saw a 5.2 per cent increase.

“We are pleased to see volumes recovering in the Americas while our new terminals in Europe continue to deliver growth. Encouragingly, UAE volumes have stabilised, and we move through 2017, we continue to expect our new developments in Rotterdam (Netherlands), Nhava Sheva (India), London Gateway (UK), and Yarimca (Turkey) to drive growth in our portfolio,” Bin Sulayem stated.

UAE volumes in the first quarter grew 1.8 per cent to reach 3.7 million TEUs.

DP World earlier reported $1.13 billion in net profit for 2016, marking a 28 per cent year-on-year increase, as revenues rose nearly five per cent to reach $4.16 billion. The increase was aided by the acquisition of Jebel Ali Free Zone in the UAE and a terminal acquisition in Canada.

This year, the company expects capital expenditure to be at $1.2 billion, with investment planned into the UAE (at Jebel Ali), Canada, Somaliland, Senegal, and the UK’s London Gateway.

Chairman Bin Sulayem last month said 2017 was expected to be yet another challenging year for global trade, but said he was optimistic that DP World can continue to perform strongly during the year.