DP World,  Jebel Ali Free Zone
The Traders Market, to be set up in Jebel Ali Free Zone, will take 24 months to complete the phase 1. It will be a 70/30 joint venture with Zhejiang China Commodity City Group Company. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: DP World, the Dubai-based ports operator, said on Tuesday its container volumes in 2019 remained nearly flat year-on-year, as it handled 71.2 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU) across its global portfolio.

This puts container volumes in the fourth quarter of 2019 alone at 17.7 million TEU, down by 0.4 per cent year-on-year. The company said 2019 was a “challenging year” as it cited the trade war between the US and China, as well as regional geopolitics that caused uncertainty.

At DP World’s flagship Jebel Ali Port in Dubai, volumes for the full year fell by 5.6 per cent to 14.1 million TEU, while volumes in the fourth quarter alone were 6.2 per cent lower year-on-year, at 3.39 million TEU.

Sultan Bin Sulayem, group chairman and chief executive officer of DP World, said in a statement that volumes in the UAE were down “due to the loss of low-margin throughput, where we remained focused on high-margin cargo and maintaining profitability.”

“The near-term focus in on integrating our recent acquisitions, managing costs, and disciplined investment to cement DP World’s position as the logistics partner of choice,” he said. “Overall, we remain placed to deliver full-year market expectations.”

Europe, Middle East, and Africa, which are quantified as one region by DP World, was the only region to see a decline in volumes (by 2.1 per cent in 2019). The Americas and Australia saw volumes inch up by 0.2 per cent, while the Americas and Australia saw volumes rise by 4.5 per cent year-on-year.