Ports operator DP World reported a 5 per cent increase in gross container volumes on a like for like basis in the first three months of the year as the company reported a “gradual improvement in the market environment.”
The Dubai-headquartered company said that its terminals around the world handled 16.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units between January and March compared with 15.5 million units a year earlier.
Like-for-like sales do not include volumes at Yarimca in Turkey, Saint John in Canada and Berbera in Somaliland, which have only recently opened.
DP World said that gross container volumes grew by 5.7 per cent year-on-year on a reported basis, ahead of the industry estimate of 2.6 per cent throughput growth for the first quarter of the year. The investment bank EFG Hermes said the numbers came in ahead of its estimates.
DP World said that like-for-like cargo volumes in the first quarter increased by the greatest amount in its Americas and Australia division where they rose by 6.5 per cent year on year to 2 million units. In Asia Pacific and the Indian subcontinent volumes grew by 5.8 per cent to 7.6 million units. Like-for-like cargo volumes for DP World’s Europe, the Middle East and Africa division increased 3.6 per cent to 6.7 million units.
DP World said that its Jebel Ali operation, which in the last three months of 2016 had volumes fall slightly, increased 1.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 to 3.7 million units.
“There are signs of a gradual improvement in the market environment in 2017 and our portfolio has had an encouraging start to the year delivering ahead-of-market growth,” said Sultan Bin Sulayem, DP World’s chairman and chief executive. “The robust performance was delivered across all three regions, which once again demonstrates that we have the relevant capacity in the right markets.”
UAE gross volumes increased by 1.8 per cent in the period to 3.7 million units.
“We are pleased to see volumes recovering in the Americas while our new terminals in Europe continue to deliver growth. Encouragingly, UAE volumes have stabilised and as we move through 2017, we continue to expect our new developments in Rotterdam, Nhava Sheva, London Gateway and Yarimca to drive growth in our portfolio,” Mr Bin Sulayem said.
Last month, DP World reported a 27.6 per cent increase in profit for 2016 – partly due to a strengthening of the US dollar. The company said that on a like-for-like constant currency basis profit increased 6.2 per cent.
At the time, Mr Bin Sulayem said that he expected growth in the low single digits in 2017, partly due to the improved fortunes of shipping lines, many of which posted “terrible” results in 2016 due to the slowing world economy.
Follow The National's Business section on Twitter