By Daniel Canty
Gulftainer managed ports saw business grow 8% in 2007.
2007 volumes at the Gulftainer UAE container terminals in Khorfakkan and Sharjah finished an incredibly buoyant year at a record 2,173,867 TEU, an increase of 8% on 2006 business.
The Sharjah terminal in Khorfakkan is undergoing a multi-million dollar investment project that will increase KCT's present 1460 metres of quay by another 440 metres. Additional dredging to 16.5 metres is nearly complete and the current phase of development is scheduled for completion by year-end 2008.
Located on Sharjah's Indian Ocean coast, Khorfakkan is close to the main east-west shipping lanes, and outside the Straits of Hormuz.
KCT continues to set records and is gaining a reputation as one of the fastest container terminals in the region, with regular productivity of over 50 moves per hour achieved per gantry, ensuring that shipping lines are not delayed, and can keep to schedule.
In 2007 KCT received a significant boost with the addition of a weekly service call from South America. Chilean shipping line CSAV joined with French shipping giant CMA-CGM and began the container service from east coast South America to the Middle East last December.
KCT has proved itself a vital gateway into UAE markets allowing other options to shipping line customers who may otherwise be locked into the landside infrastructural challenges posed by use of other ports.
Expectations at the port remain high for an even more productive 2008, on the back of confirmation that DP World's Port Rashid, in Dubai's city centre will be completing the winding down of commercial cargo operations in March this year.
"As the choice of ports for cargo coming into Emirates is reduced, Khorfakkan is well placed, and very well equipped to cope with additional traffic that will arise from that development," said Keith Nuttall.
Container handling operations from Port Rashid moved in the third quarter of 2007 to the Terminal 2 facility at DP World's flagship Jebel Ali port.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, Gulftainer management at Kuwait's Shuwaikh port are also expected to confirm a significant increase in container volumes handled last year, as soon as Kuwait Ports Authority release official statistics.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.