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Mon 25 Aug 2008 03:13 AM

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Heavy delays at Jebel Ali port having knock-on effect

Abu Dhabi's Mina Zayed suffers 17% fall in container traffic in July, sea-air also affected.

Heavy delays at Jebel Ali Port, the UAE's largest container terminal, are having a ripple effect throughout the country's logistics network, leading to increased delays, the UAE daily the National reported on Sunday.Logistics firms first warned customers in early August of "serious berthing delays" of up to 90 hours at Jebel Ali that are expected to continue through to the end of the month, the paper said.

The delays have affected ships carrying goods from Asia and Europe to offload in the Dubai port, which acts as a gateway for the country's road, air and sea transportation network.

The impact of the congestion has resulted in a slowdown of goods reaching Sharjah and Abu Dhabi ports through smaller feeder vessels from Jebel Ali, it added.The volume of containers handled in Abu Dhabi’s Mina Zayed Port fell 17 per cent in July, to 23,438 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), with officials attributing it to a delay in feeder craft arriving from Jebel Ali, the paper said.

DP World, which manages Jebel Ali, acknowledged that its flagship asset has been "under some pressure recently", and said its operations would be back to normal shortly.

The paper quoted a notice sent out to customers by Danzas, an international logistics company, as saying: "The terminal is operating at near full capacity resulting in delayed operations."

Mainline vessels, the large ships that can carry up to 8,000 containers at a time, are having to wait between 24 to 30 hours to offload their goods at Jebel Ali. Smaller craft, called feeder vessels, are having to wait even longer, as much as 90 hours, according to the paper.

The delays are also thought to have impacted the sea-air cargo trade, in which goods from Asia are offloaded from ships in Jebel Ali to be flown to their final destinations in Europe, the paper added.

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