DP World lifts 10 percent more cargo at its ports

AP News
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Posted: Jan 31, 2012 2:13 AM
DP World lifts 10 percent more cargo at its ports

DP World, the Dubai government-backed port operator, said Tuesday that business at its docks jumped 10 percent last year, helped by growth in emerging markets.

The world's third-largest port operator reported lifting the equivalent of 54.7 million standard 20-foot shipping containers last year. That's up from 49.6 million handled in 2010.

DP World's business is heavily concentrated in faster-growing emerging markets. It is those regions _ Africa, Asia and Latin America _ that the company said enjoyed some of the strongest growth. Trade also increased in its core market in the United Arab Emirates, the Arab world's second biggest economy.

CEO Mohammed Sharaf cautioned that the outlook for the world economy remains uncertain, though he is optimistic about DP World's prospects.

"We continue to remain confident about the long-term outlook for our industry," he told reporters.

DP World's broad geographic footprint gives it a window on trade flows around the world. The company manages more than 60 sea cargo terminals on six continents, including the Middle East's busiest in Dubai.

Its volume growth was helped by the addition of new ports in Pakistan, India and Suriname in 2011.

Trade volumes in the UAE rose 12 percent to the equivalent of 13 million shipping containers. The company is in the middle of a big expansion of Dubai's sprawling Jebel Ali port designed to meet expected future demand that will allow it to handle up to 19 million containers by 2014.

DP World is a division of Dubai's troubled Dubai World conglomerate, but was excluded from its parent's highly publicized debt restructuring. The port firm is seen as one of city-state's healthiest state-controlled companies.

It is in the process of building Britain's first deep-sea container port in more than a quarter century, which is scheduled to open outside London by the end of next year. The company last week sold its 34 percent stake in another southern British port for $75.5 million.

DP World posted a first-half profit of $740.9 million. It plans to report its full-year earnings in March.