Dubai’s ports have not been affected by the current situation in Mena and the emirate expects even better business in 2011 thanks to recovering global trade, a DP World official was quoted on Sunday as saying.
Plans by neighbouring Qatar to pump massive funds on its infrastructure will also benefit Dubai’s ports, which are ready for expanded activity following the completion of expansions and a new port in Jebel Ali, said Mohammed Al Muallem, first vice president and director general of DP World.
“The port activity in the UAE or even other Gulf states has not been generally affected by the current situation in the Arab world…even in Egypt, its ports have not been shut for one single day,” he told Alkhaleej newspaper.
“In Libya, we do not have any presence so we have not been affected by the incidents there…..besides, the political turmoil has hit not only the Arab region as we have seen strikes in Greece and other European nations…but these incidents have not affected ports…perhaps there may some slow activity for a couple of days but ports usually resume their normal activity.”
Muallem said DP World has fully overcome the effects of the 2008 global fiscal crisis, adding that this recovery is reflected in the ports’ higher profits and activity.
“We expect to return to growth this year with the recovery of global trade and port business worldwide…I can say that the strong economic recovery in the Gulf is one of the encouraging factors for us,” he said.
“Higher economic growth, the surge in oil prices and ensuring government revenue as well as expansion plans in neighbouring countries, such as Qatar, mean more investment in infrastructure…this means that 2011 will be the year of positive performance, particularly for ports.”
Turning to port expansions in Dubai, the main commercial hub in the region, Muaallem said a new five-million-tonne port that was constructed in Jebel Ali boosted the handing capacity in the free zone to 14 million 20-foot containers per year from around 11.6 million tones in 2010.
“This means that we have enough handling capacity to cover growth for the next two to three years…that is why we are now concent4rating on upgrading services in terms of quality and speed.”
Replying to a question, Muallem said DP World’s decision not to extend a contract to manage Port Zayed in Abu Dhabi would not affect that port.
“On the contrary, there will positive effects of this move because Abu Dhabi and Dubai ports complement each other…all know that the UAE has an active economy and there are scores of large projects that will benefit all,” he said.
“The presence of strong ports in the UAE allows them to compete with all other ports and there is continuous cooperation and coordination in work and services at all ports in the country.”