DP World operations at Jebel Ali, Dubai. The Dubai-based ports operator has been on a growth drive that has included mergers and acquisitions to expand the company’s footprint Image Credit: Gulf News Archives


DP World, the Dubai-based ports operator, said it handled 70.1 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) globally in 2017, marking a 10.1 per cent increase year-on-year.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, the company saw a 10.3 per cent year-on-year rise in volumes across its global portfolio, with strong contributions from terminals in Europe, Americas, and the Middle East and Africa.

DP World’s terminals in the UAE handled 15.4 million TEUs in 2017, a 4 per cent increase.

Sultan Bin Sulayem, DP World group chairman and chief executive officer, said the UAE saw “stable performance” as volumes continued to rise in the fourth quarter of 2017 “amid uncertainty in the region and tougher year-over-year comparables.”

In a statement, Bin Sulayem said the company benefited from an improved trading environment, and that its global portfolio grew ahead of the market in 2017. Drewry Maritime, a research consultancy, had estimated an average market growth of 6 per cent for 2017.

“As we look ahead into 2018, we expect to continue to grow ahead of the market and see increased contributions from our new developments,” he said.

“We continue to seek opportunities in complementary sectors in the global supply chain and will maintain capital expenditure discipline by bringing on capacity in line with demand. Given the strong performance of our portfolio, we are well placed to meet full-year 2017 market expectations.”

In terms of regional figures, volumes from Asia Pacific and the Indian subcontinent went up 7.9 per cent in 2017 to reach 31.9 million TEUs, the highest volumes compared to other regions.

Volumes in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa jumped 11.5 per cent year-on-year to 29 million TEUs, as Americas and Australia recorded the strongest growth rate of 13.8 per cent to 8.8 million TEUs.

DP World has been on a growth drive that included mergers and acquisitions to expand the company’s footprint. In September 2017, it announced that it will acquire Maritime World, the owner of Dubai Maritime City, for $180 million, and Drydocks World for a capital injection of $225 million.

The acquisitions, both of which still subject to conditions, are expected to close before the end of the first quarter of 2018.