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Wed 6 Jan 2010 03:54 PM

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Sharjah ports firm bucks global sea freight downturn

Terminals major Gulftainer sees UAE container throughput rise by 10% in 2009.

Sharjah ports firm bucks global sea freight downturn
SHARJAH PORT: Khorfakkan Container Terminal. (Supplied)

Despite the worldwide collapse in container figures, Sharjah-based terminals major Gulftainer has recorded an impressive 10% rise in throughput at its two UAE ports during 2009.

A total of 2,750,285 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) passed through Khorfakkan Container Terminal (KCT) and Sharjah Container Terminal (SCT) throughout the year, which Gulftainer said was a reflection both on the economic buoyancy of the region and the efficiency of its facilities.

“We always knew that 2009 would not be an easy year and so it proved – but interestingly we were less impacted than many other terminal operators,” said Peter Richards, Gulftainer group director and general manager.

“Our strategy in 2009 was to continue to work even harder at ensuring that our shipping line customers had the best, fastest and most cost-effective performance that we could provide, in a year when they needed us to help them save time and money.”

Gulftainer added six new shore gantry cranes to KCT during the course of last year, and also broke a number of efficiency records related to the speed at which vessels are unloaded.

Based on Sharjah’s Indian Ocean coast, KCT is well placed to tap into the main intercontinental east-west trade routes and has numerous feeder connections to other Gulf ports and the Indian subcontinent.

From the global perspective, the outlook for container market remains almost universally poor.

Drewry Shipping Consultants' latest report on the sector says that overcapacity and the inability of stakeholders in the industry to take collective responsbility are factors behind the crisis.    

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