Dubai giant DP World sees coronavirus rebound 'ahead of expectations'

Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem says port operator is focused on containing costs to protect profitability

Dubai-based DP World said on Monday that it saw third quarter volumes turn positive ahead of expectations following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The port operator said volumes handled across its three regions grew by 1.9 percent year-on-year compared to a 2.2 percent decline for the industry.

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“This performance is ahead of expectations and once again illustrates the resilience of the global container industry, and DP World’s continued ability to outperform the market,” said DP World group chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem.

DP World Limited handled 18.3 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) across its global portfolio of container terminals in Q3, with gross container volumes increasing by 3.1 percent year-on-year on a reported basis and up 1.9 percent on a like-for-like basis.

On a nine-month basis, DP World handled 52.2 million TEU, decreasing 2.5 percent on a reported basis and down 2 percent on a like-for-like basis, the company said in a statement.

DP World group chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem

Like-for-like gross volume growth was mainly driven by Europe, Middle East, Africa and Americas with a strong performance from London Gateway (UK), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Sokhna (Egypt), Rotterdam (Netherlands) and Antwerp Gateway (Belgium).

In Americas, growth was driven by Buenos Aires (Argentina), Santiago (Chile) and Vancouver (Canada). Jebel Ali (UAE) handled 3.4 million TEU in Q3 2020, down 4.2 percent year-on-year.

Sulayem added that the recovery in volumes was broad based with quarter-on-quarter throughput increasing by almost 10 percent as world economies began to ease lockdown restrictions.

India, which witnessed a sharp slowdown in Q2, saw a significant volume improvement versus the second quarter, while Jebel Ali in Dubai delivered 3.4 percent growth against the previous quarter as trade in the region began to stabilise.

Bin Sulayem said: “During this challenging period, we have focused on maintaining efficient supply chains to sustain the delivery of critical and essential cargo. Our strategy to provide solutions to cargo owners has served us well, and our aim is to continue to build on this momentum.

“Looking ahead, we remain focused on containing costs to protect profitability and managing growth capex to preserve cash flow.”

Earlier this month, DP World and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), a global institutional investor, announced the expansion of their ports and terminals investment through a new commitment of $4.5 billion.

The companies said that the new funds will increase the total size of the platform to $8.2 billion. DP World holds 55 percent share of the platform, and CDPQ the remaining 45 percent.

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