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DP World spent over $6 billion to evolve into a comprehensive supply chain player, according to the company’s CEO, His Excellency Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem. He was speaking at a session titled ‘Trade in a Changing World’, at the 21st Arab Media Forum in Dubai. The session was moderated by the Egyptian writer and journalist, Imad Eddine Adib.
Speaking about DP World's transformation from a traditional ports operator into a major player in the global supply chain, Bin Sulayem said: “In 2016, it became evident to us that factors beyond the confines of ports exerted a notable influence on the punctual delivery of cargo. Faced with this revelation, we made a resolute and forward-thinking decision. Our commitment was unwavering: to provide the most exceptional service to our cargo owners, guaranteeing both timeliness and cost-effectiveness in their operations”.
Consequently, DP World resolved to extend its services across the entire supply chain. “We transformed our role from merely operating ports to becoming a global leader in smart end-to-end supply chain logistics, facilitating worldwide trade flows," Bin Sulayem remarked.
This required a massive investment of more than US$6 billion, which encompassed the acquisition of new companies worldwide spanning various segments of the supply chain, from warehouse storage to transportation. DP World is now the largest transportation company in India following the privatisation of the sector by the Indian government, even owning a major rail network to move goods across the country.
Bin Sulayem added that the slow evolution of the supply chain industry led the company to invest in every aspect of the chain. The company is now renowned for its exceptional efficiency, and has become a benchmark for shipping companies when it comes to the swift and efficient loading and offloading of containers, Bin Sulayem noted.
Commenting on the recent agreement forged at the G20 meet to link Middle East countries by railway and connect them to India through sea ports, facilitating the flow of energy and trade from the Gulf to Europe, Bin Sulayem emphasised that the ultimate objective is to expedite the delivery of goods and introduce new alternative routes. “In the supply chain industry, time, speed, quality and cost are key elements.”
The new corridor will supplement the existing shipping route through the Red Sea and Suez Canal, adding much needed flexibility to the global trade system, but will not replace it, he explained.
In fact, DP World’s decades long investments in Jebel Ali Port – with a capacity of nearly 20 million TEUs a year, mean it will be the beating heard of the new trade corridor. The port, and Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) boast world-class infrastructure and connections with shipping lines to serve a market of 3.5 billion people across the Mediterranean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and beyond.
DP World has undertaken substantial investments spanning multiple countries across the globe, with a commitment to persist in this strategy wherever viable opportunities arise, he added.
The company’s operations which span 73 countries around the world, including several Arab countries. Its first venture outside the UAE was in Saudi Arabia, winning a concession to operate the South Container Terminal at Jeddah Islamic Port. DP World signed a new 30-year concession agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Mawani in 2019 and is planning to invest more than $800 million to expand and modernise the terminal, taking capacity to 5 million TEU. It is also investing in a new $500 million logistics park to support Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030.
DP World also has operations in Egypt, where it has transformed Sokhna’s capability since taking over in 2008, focusing on efficiency and sustainability, and Algeria, where it has invested nearly $130 million in the ports of Djazair and Djen-Djen since 2009.
Earlier this year, DP World launched the first direct freight service between the UAE and Iraq to make the flow of goods between the two countries faster, safer and more efficient. Until now, goods had to be transported by road from the UAE – which meant passing through multiple countries and borders with journeys taking up to two weeks. DP World designed and built vessels to take cargo directly from Jebel Ali to Umm Qasr port in Southern Iraq, so goods can be delivered in just 36 hours.
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