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Mon 12 Feb 2007 06:40 PM

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Global shipping set for 20% growth

This year could see robust growth in global shipping and more 'megaships', says DP World.

Global shipping could see robust annual growth of 15-20% in 2007, according to Abdulla Bin Damithan, deputy director, DP World.

This depends on prudent supply chain management and additional attention being paid to planning the right mix of tonnage and routes, said Bin Damithan.

Current growth trends in global shipping have been attributed to goods shipments from China, but are being boosted by massive demand for materials and supplies needed to sustain the physical growth of the Gulf region and Far East.

"Growth in the Middle and Far East, both in development projects and logistics, has fuelled the recent buoyancy in shipping lines. Meticulous planning and a strategic focus are required for port operators to provide a competitive platform for customers and ensure continued commitment," said Bin Damithan.

"If we look at the total global container port capacity in 2006 it peaked at 455.9 million twenty-foot equivalent units [TEU]. In 2009, this global container demand is forecast to touch 490.28 million TEU, which means we need to expand significantly to cope with the demand," he added.

As megaships, such as the 14,000 TEU Emma Maersk, play an increasing role in transportation, ports looking to expand will have to factor in the need to cater to large-size vessels. Experts believe that a 200% increase in ships of over 7500 TEU will come onto the shipping markets this year.

In anticipation of the rise in freight volumes DP World began expanding its flagship Jebel Ali Port two years ago. The two-phase development will add 2500m quay length with a draft of 17m. The expansion will increase capacity at the transshipment hub from nine million TEU to up to 14-15 million TEU, claimed Bin Damithan.

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