DP World_TBD
While global shipping movements are heading back to stable levels, DP World's making full use of its network reach and investments in capacity to draw up higher growth. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Dubai ports operator DP World handled 19.5 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent) cross its global network in the first three months of 2023, boosted by better runs from India and Asia-Pacific operations. This also helped offset ‘softer’ returns from Europe and the Americas.

Jebel Ali port in Dubai handled 3.5 million TEU during the period, which is a 2.3 per cent year-on-year gain.

"Our portfolio has had an encouraging start to the year with container volume growth of 3.7 per cent - once again ahead of the market, which is estimated to be down by 6.3 per cent," said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO. "This outperformance continues to demonstrate that we are in the right locations, and our strategy to offer integrated supply chain solutions to beneficial cargo owners is driving value for our stakeholders."

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Softness in key markets

The shipping volumes out of Europe are still downbeat, which dragged the Dubai company's overall volumes handled. Short-term forecasts for the eurozone economy have seen revisions, which could add to the slack seen in demand for imports through the rest of the year too.

As for the first quarter numbers, 'As anticipated, volume growth has softened in some regions, such as Europe and the Americas, due to uncertain economic conditions', said Bin Sulayem. ""A strong performance in Asia-Pacific and India drove our growth." Shipping industry sources concur, pointing to the speedy return of higher growth for the China economy after the full opening up.

Shipping rates too have seen a retreat from the peak-Covid times, which too should benefit DP World volumes. The biggest takeaway from the Q1-23 numbers are that even with sluggish numbers in Europe, the company was still able to outpace the overall industry patterns.

"We expect our portfolio to deliver a stable performance as we remain focused on driving revenue synergies from our recent acquisitions while managing costs and growth capex," said Bin Sulayem. 

The near-term outlook remains somewhat uncertain, given the geopolitical backdrop, high inflation and currency fluctuations

- Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem of DP World