Dubai's DP World, the world's third biggest port operator, on Thursday said consolidated container volumes dropped 6.4 percent in the first quarter of the year, amid challenging operating conditions.
DP World, one of the more profitable assets of Dubai World , said it handled 6.2 million TEU - or twenty-foot equivalent container unit - in the quarter, according to a company statement. This compares with 6.6 million TEU in the year-earlier period.
The company said its gross volumes handled in the quarter were 12.8 million TEU, down 7 percent from 13.8 million TEU in the prior-year period.
The gross volumes include all terminals in which DP World owns a stake.
Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said: "This decline in gross container volume was as a result of lower volumes in the Asia Pacific and Indian Subcontinent region and the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.
"In the Asia Pacific and Indian Subcontinent region we continue to focus on handling a smaller number of higher margin containers.
"In the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, our European and Middle East businesses in particular continue to operate in a challenging macro environment."
He added that the volume declines were mitigated by a better performance from terminals in the Americas and Australia region.
"Despite a continuation of subdued markets at the start of 2013 and notwithstanding the challenging macroeconomic conditions, we still expect like for like container throughput in line with 2012 with our portfolio focused on the faster growing emerging markets and more stable origin and destination cargo," the chairman said in a statement.
"We are confident about the long- term outlook of our industry and our growth prospects. With this in mind, we remain focused on developing the significant new capacity which is due to be operational later this year."