DP World container volumes soften in Q1 amid global uncertainty

Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem believes that volumes will improve in the second half of 2019
DP World container volumes soften in Q1 amid global uncertainty
Chairman and CEO of Dubai-based ports operator DP World, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem.
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Thu 25 Apr 2019 11:26 AM

Dubai-based ports operator DP World’s container volumes softened in the first quarter of 2019 amid “general caution” and “uncertainty” in some works, chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said on Thursday.

In a statement, DP World said that the company handed 17.5 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) during the quarter, with gross container volumes falling by 0.6 percent year-on-year on a reported basis.

Gross-like-for-like volumes declined by 0.7 percent in Q1, due to higher year-on-year comparables and softer volumes in the UAE and Australia. Like-for-like volumes grew 8.4 percent in Q1 2018.

“As previously flagged, we have seen softer volumes in 1Q 2019 due to strong prior year performance and general caution in some markets given the current uncertainty in the macro-environment” bin Sulayem said.

Low margin

The UAE handled 3.5 million TEU in the quarter, an 8.8 percent decrease. Growth was recorded in the Americas, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent, with particularly strong growth in the Peruvian port of Callao, the Egyptian port of Sokhna and Mumbai in India.

“In the UAE, the volume weakness is mainly due to loss of low-margin throughout, where our focus remains on profitable cargo and, while we expect the recent trends to continue into the second quarter, we do expect an improvement in the second half of the year,” Bin Sulayem added.

Additionally, Bin Sulayem said that DP World has made “good progress” on its wider portfolio.

“[The wider portfolio] offers a greater role in the global supply chain as a solutions provider. We continue to focus on delivering operational excellence, managing costs and disciplined investment to remain the trade partner of choice.”

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