Dubai: The Transworld Group, a Dubai-based logistics and shipping service provider, is investing close to $100 million (Dh367 million) in expanding its shipping fleet and launching new business verticals, its top official said.

“We are investing $77 million in acquiring three bulk carrier ships, in addition to three container ships that we decided to buy last year, costing us an additional $20 million,” Ramesh S. Ramakrishnan, chairman of the Transworld Group, told Gulf News in an interview.

The $700-million annual turnover company has been growing at a year-on-year rate of 15-20 per cent over the last few years despite the downturn, cashing in on Dubai’s central location as the region’s biggest trans-shipment and re-export hub.

Shipping and logistics are two key contributors that fuel UAE’s economy — helping major logistics and shipping operators, such as Transworld to grow. Shipping and logistics represent roughly about 14 per cent of the UAE’s gross domestic product, according to the Supply Chain and Logistics Group (SCLG). Logistics revenues are expected to reach in Dh34.5 billion by 2014.

“The strategic location of Dubai’s ports and the exceptional infrastructure that they offer has enabled Transworld and many others to gain a competitive advantage in the industry,” Mohammad Sharaf, chief executive of DP World, said during a recent function held to mark the company’s 35th anniversary.

“We are certain Transworld’s expansions will further fuel their growth, ensuring they continue to grow as leading players in the industry.”

The group, which operates through 15 subsidiary companies, has more than 1,700 employees on payroll, spread across nine locations in the GCC, 28 cities in India and one office in the United States. Balaji Shipping Lines, one of the company’s subsidiaries, owns a fleet of 16,000 dry containers and 1,500 refrigerated containers that carry perishable and processed food items.

The company was established by Ramakrishnan’s father in 1977. It operates a fleet of 27 ships, including 12 containerships and 15 feeder vessels.

Ramakrishnan said his company had launched two new business verticals — Transworld Bulk Carriers and Tranworld Projects logistics management business — that will help the company grow at a higher rate amid challenging global economic conditions.

“Coming out of an economic downturn of the last four years, we have streamlined operations to make the company more agile and sustainable. Going forward, the launch of bulk carriers and project logistics management business will accelerate our growth,” he said.