Middle East ports will grow at 5.1% in 2015, bucking global trends and higher than the 4% growth in Chinese ports, and 2% overall global growth for 2015, the UAE’s top port official said this week.
He added that GCC ports were resilient, serving economies driven by high consumption and robust industry, and “future ready”.
“We are fortunate in the region that our populations are growing and that per capita income is high,” Mohammed Al Muallem, svp and md, DP World UAE Region, told TOC Middle East in Dubai. “The effect [of today’s freight crisis] on growth in our region is much less than [on] others.”
Regional port capacity will reach 55m teu by 2020, while utilisation rates continue to remain high at over 70%. Some 11.9m teu were handled at Jebel Ali, Al Muallem’s main responsibility, in the first nine months of 2015, up 4% year-on-year, after the port saw throughput of 15.2m teu last year.
Despite challenges and regional sentiment, Jebel Ali Port remains ambitious, intending to add the 3.1m teu first phase of Terminal 4, by 2018, to bring total port capacity to 22.1 m teu. That terminal alone, being built on a man-made spur parallel to Terminal 2, will eventually have 6m teu capacity.
In the UAE, in addition to Jebel Ali’s plans, 2m teu of additional capacity will come on at Khorfakkan and 2m teu at KPCT Abu Dhabi, while 2m teu will be added at Sohar in Oman, and 1m teu each at Doha New Port, Qatar, and Dammam in Saudi Arabia, all by 2020, he said.
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