DP World
As it awaits an announcement on Haifa Port, DP World is targetting more opportunities in Israel. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai's port operator DP World is looking at more potential investment opportunities in Israel, including ports in Eilat and Ashdod as it awaits a decision on its joint venture bid for Haifa Port.

"Israel is a good and a very strategic bridge between Europe and many parts of the business that we have," said Sultan Bin Sulayem, Chairman of DP World.

The operator is optimistic on the year ahead amid pent-up demand for cargo and an easing of geopolitical issues following the change in the US administration, its Chairman said after reporting a 29 per cent fall in 2020 profit.

Bin Sulayem, who is also chief executive, said that demand and supply chain capabilities had improved globally as a result of the pandemic. "You are always cautious ... (but) the outlook this year looks good for many reasons," he said.

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Change in tempo

Bin Sulayem had cautioned throughout former US President Donald Trump's time in office that trade tensions between the US and other countries had created a challenging environment. He said he believed President Joe Biden's administration was handling trade consultations in a "better way".

Gains are there in 2021
DP World's profit attributable to owners fell nearly 41% to $846 million for the year ending December 31, 2020. Revenue grew to $8.53 billion, from $7.69 billion in 2019.

“We are encouraged by the start of trading in 2021 and remain positive on the medium to long-term outlook for the industry and our business,” he added.

The higher revenue was partly driven by the company’s acquisition of Topaz Marine and Energy a marine logistics solutions provider. DP World integrated Topaz with its existing business of P&O Maritime services to launch P&O Maritime logistics (POML).

The business now manages over 400 vessels and will focus on providing solutions to the oil and gas and renewable sector.

- John Benny, Staff Reporter

Demand shortfall

A shortage of shipping containers as a result of strong demand, in part driven by the need to transport goods associated with the pandemic, was still a problem but easing, he said. "That tells you the market is now very good and the expansion is good and the demand in shipping is good," bin Sulayem said.

DP World, one of the world's largest port operators, plans $1.2 billion in capital expenditure this year. For 2020 it reported an 11 per cent rise in revenue to $8.5 billion while profit fell to $846 million from $1.19 billion.

It handled 71.2 million shipping containers, a volume similar to 2019. In an earlier statement, bin Sulayem said the company had performed better than expected "in a year like no other".