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Cargo volumes rise at Abu Dhabi port despite slowdown

Slowed property development in Abu Dhabi hit container traffic at Port Zayed in the first half of the year but cargo volumes rose, helped by infrastructure projects and higher vehicle imports, a senior port official said on Monday.

The port handled 206,866 containers, down 7 percent, and 2.98 million tonnes (MT) of general cargo, an increase of 12 percent, said Julian Skyrem, acting chief executive of Abu Dhabi Terminals.

There was a 62 percent jump in vehicles handled, rising to 32,177 from 19,809. The number of cruise Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE, where fallout from the global financial crisis has put an end to a six-year construction boom.

“We are seeing the effects of the reduction in construction activity that led to the slight dip. However, industrialisation in Abu Dhabi is having a positive effect,” Skyrem told reporters.

Abu Dhabi is investing billions of dollars in industry, infrastructure and tourism to diversify its economy.

Home to most of the country’s oil, it has fared better than other emirates such as Dubai.

Abu Dhabi Terminals is managed by DP World, which has been ringfenced from asset sales by parent firm Dubai World, now grappling with a $23.5 billion debt restructuring at the heart of the emirate’s recent woes.

The port has a total capacity to handle 650,000 TEUs and 7.5 million tonnes of cargo.

It is expected to gradually shift operations to the new, larger Khalifa port in Taweelah beginning in the fourth quarter of 2012.


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