GCC seaports have $40bn investment pipeline – study

Markaz report says oil exports have had knock-on benefit for ports' infrastructure.
GCC seaports have $40bn investment pipeline – study
JEBEL ALI: (Getty Images)
By Martin Morris
Sun 23 Aug 2009 11:09 PM

New research on the GCC ports sector from the Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz) has found GCC governments benefitting from high oil prices during the last several years, aiding them in reducing external debt and increasing expenditure.The large volume of oil exports by sea has ensured the development of ports in all Gulf states - the GCC region's total trade (imports + exports) witnessing 15% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) between 1994 and 2009.

Seaports have also witnessed robust volumes - growth coming in at an estimated 12% CAGR, rising to 24 million TEU's in 2008 from 15 million TEU's in 2004.

The TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) is an inexact unit of cargo capacity often used to describe the capacity of container ships and container terminals.

GCC countries have 35 ports in total, some of which are currently undergoing expansion to meet increasing trade demand. Total investments in GCC port projects through 2008 hit just over $38 billion - UAE ports accounting for around $23 billion.

The total value of upcoming projects is estimated at $38.57 billion. However, the study notes that depressed oil revenues over a longer period of time may result in the cancellation of some major projects currently being undertaken. Indeed, to date Markaz estimates $1.68 billion worth of projects have already either been put on hold or cancelled.

Dubai port meanwhile ranks seventh among 528 world ports monitored, having handled 11 million TEU's in 2008 - this on the back of 16% CAGR between 2004-2008.

Elsewhere, Jeddah ranks 33rd with an annual throughput of 3.3 million TEU's.

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