Dubai Ports World’s Jebel Ali facility will have the capacity to handle 80 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) by 2030, up from the current 11 million TEUs, recording a year-on-year growth of 16 per cent, a senior executive said on Monday.
“This will be fuelled by the construction of our artificial island and DP World’s Terminal Two, which will be complete, in terms of the entire infrastructure, by the middle of this year. By starting now, we will be able to add capacity as it is needed. This will allow us to expand 18 months to two years ahead of demand,” said Mohammed Al Muallem, Dubai Ports senior vice-president and managing director for the UAE.
“If growth continues at the same pace, we will be able to increase capacity to 80 million TEUs in Jebel Ali by 2030,” he said.
The global port operator plans to add five million TEUs by February 2009 at a cost of $1.5bn (Dh5.50bn). Of these, two million have already been added and one million each will be added in August, October and February, Al Muallem said.
“This expansion will take us into the next three to four years,” he said.
At the same time, Dubai Ports has acquired sophisticated cranes that are expected to cut operational costs. “The revolutionary, tandem-lift gantry cranes will help DP World raise productivity. They will meet our target of carrying containers from the port to the airport in one hour,” Al Muallem said.
This will save Dubai Ports a “significant amount” of money, he said without revealing details. “Last year, we saved for our customers $12.6m in terms of the number of hours saved.”
Tandem-lift cranes are capable of lifting either two 40-foot shipping containers or four 20-foot containers simultaneously.
“Big cranes are going to pick up two containers so you are doubling efficiency. Regular cranes can carry only one,” said Al Muallem. The tandem-lift cranes have been designed specifically for the Jebel Ali terminal.
Last week, Dubai Ports announced it handled more than 43.3 million TEUs across its portfolio of 42 terminals in 22 countries in 2007, an increase of 18 per cent over the previous year.
UAE terminals increased throughput by 19 per cent to 11 million TEUs, with the two Dubai ports of Jebel Ali and Port Rashid growing at 20 per cent to reach 10.7 million TEUs. The growth in UAE ports matched the 19 per cent average set by the Middle East, Europe and Africa region.
“For our future portfolio, we are talking about handling 53 terminals in 27 countries,” said Al Muallem, adding location has played a very important role in the company’s success.
“Other factors include a politically stable and trade-friendly environment; investment in people, infrastructure and systems; vision, foresight and good planning; benchmarking performance; setting productivity and quality standards; and using a customer-centric approach.”
Future growth will be dependent on the expansion of the re-export market, Al Muallem said. “Dubai has not capitalised on heavy industries and exports depend on these kind of industries. So imports will always be more, according to me. And re-export will grow in Dubai for neighbouring regions and other countries across the world,” he said.
Interestingly, Dubai Ports’ shipping capacity has grown faster than port capacity. The ports operator has more than 100 ships on order at present, with a total capacity of more than 10,000 TEUs, according to Al Muallem.
The Dubai International Financial Exchange-listed company raised $4.96 billion in November 2007, in the Middle East’s biggest public share sale.
The share price has fallen since listing to $0.85 from the issue price of $1.30 on concerns that slowing trade will affect international container shipping.
TEUs is the current capacity at Jebel Ali Port
TEUs DP World plans to add by February 2009 at Jebel Ali at the cost of $1.5bn
TEUs Dubai Ports handled across its portfolio of 42 terminals in 22 countries in 2007, an increase of 18 per cent
was the increase in throughput at UAE terminals in 2007
Jebel Ali port capacity to hit 80m TEUs