DP World's rocky passage in India



From the cabin of the quayside gantry crane, suspended 50 metres above the docks, you can watch every turn of the Howrah Bridge container vessel as it comes in to dock. It has been waiting in the deepest channels of Mumbai Harbour for the tide to allow it to make its approach to Jawaharlal Nehru Port, India's biggest container port. Far behind it lies the skyline of Mumbai's "island city".
But for Sujeet Singh, the general manager of operations at DP World Nhava Sheva container terminal, there is nothing majestic about the ship's entry. "See, we just lost three to four hours," he grimaces. "The incoming vessel has high draft and the tide can't match it. We are calling it the best port in India and we can't bring in vessels with a depth of more than 12.5 metres."
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) is India's largest container terminal facility, handling 4.1 million containers (known as Twenty-foot Equivalent Units, or TEUs) in the year to March, a 23 per cent increase on the previous year. It has three container terminals within its facility. I
n some respects DP World Nhava Sheva - India's first private container terminal when it opened in 1999 - has been a success. This year, it brought in almost three times the 550,000 TEUs set out in the initial concession agreement. "It is a very, very important port facility for us," said Ganesh Raj, the managing director of DP World for the Indian subcontinent. "And from an efficiency point of view it's probably one of our best."
Next week, DP World will submit its preliminary bid as part of the process at JNPT to develop a new 330-metre stretch of quay directly to the north of the DP World terminal. It faces competition from up to 21 other bidders, split between rival international port operators and Indian construction firms. Victory is by no means certain. India's Planning Commission has brought in a new tendering process for the development of ports, with a scoring system that gives little credit to a bidder's experience in international port operations. Instead, it seems to favour India's home-grown construction companies.
In the first test case, bidding for a new container facility at Ennore Port in Tamil Nadu, neither Singapore-based PSA International nor DP World even made the short list of six companies. PSA International has challenged the short list in court, but even if it wins, the court's judgment on the guidelines of the new bidding process may be too late for the bidding process at Nhava Sheva.
Mr Raj argued that excluding the world's leading container terminal operators threatens to worsen India's inadequate container capacity. "As it is, infrastructure development in the ports sector is already three to four years behind schedule in India," he said. "They are now bringing in the wrong people. It is ridiculous to say that PSA and DP World are not technically qualified. We are the second-largest and the third-largest ports operators in the world."
Last year, DP World Nhava Sheva handled 2,513 TEUs per metre of its quayside, one of the highest rates in the world. Most ports manage less than 1,800 TEUs per metre. But the port is plagued by infrastructure and capacity constraints. Mr Singh's frustration at the port's limited depth follows a delay of more than five years on JNPT's part in carrying out essential dredging. Most worrying for DP World's management in Dubai is that the terminal is not making much money. In 2006, the Tariff Authority of India cut the rates that DP World can charge at DP World Nhava Sheva by 28 per cent. Under the 1999 concession agreement, the royalties that the port must pay to the government increase each year.
"With some of the business we handle we actually make a loss at this moment," Mr Raj said. The best the company can hope for in this fiscal year is that DP World Nhava Sheva breaks even.
Looking down from the gantry over the stacking areas of the three terminals, it is easy to see how urgently infrastructure development and growth is needed. It seems inconceivable that the rows of containers stacked in the dock area of the three terminals represent 60 per cent of India's total container imports and exports for three days. This stacking area would not be impressive in a European port, a Chinese port or at Jebel Ali, but it serves 1.2 billion people in India. India's container trade is set to triple to 21 million TEUs a year by 2016, as containerised trade in India increases from 30 per cent of exports to closer to the world average of 70 per cent.
DP World Nhava Sheva itself is at breaking point. Mr Raj does not think efficiency can increase much beyond last year's 1.5 million TEUs, irrespective of any improvements that DP World introduces. "Between 1.45 million and 1.5 million TEUs. That's about it," he said. "Theoretically, you can push this port up to two million TEUs. But for that to happen, the average dwell time in port has to fall below one day, and the customs formalities that exist in India and other operational issues outside the terminals don't allow for this to happen."
So DP World's hopes for Nhava Sheva rest on winning the bid for the 330-metre quay expansion. It has spent several years with the port authorities arguing that the stretch is too small to be defined and tendered as a new container terminal. "If it is anyone else but us, it will be a constrained facility of 330 metres," Mr Raj said. "The container ships coming into port today are nothing less than 270 to 280 metres in length. "So if you even tie the lines across, you need an additional 50 metres, which implies that you will automatically creep into our 660-metre berth in DP World Nhava Sheva."
For DP World to remain a major player here, the coming bid is important. But the risk that it will see a repeat of Ennore and not even make the shortlist is real. The company is facing problems dealing with local authorities elsewhere in the country. It has started arbitration proceedings with Chennai Port, which has accused the company of not meeting its commitments under the concession agreement. At Mundra in Gujarat, it risks being ousted from the Mundra International Container Terminal because its concessionaire, Adani Group, argues that the transfer of ownership implied by DP World's takeover of P&O Ports, its previous partner, was not approved.
DP World's biggest development projects in the subcontinent are the two new ports it is building in Kulpi, in West Bengal, and Vallarpadam, in Kerala state. When completed, Vallarpadam will be the largest terminal in India.
But the stretch of coast next to JNPT is also likely to expand. JNPT plans to shift the port's liquid terminal and build more quay space. And just south of JNPT, at the village of Rewas, the Indian industrial giant Reliance Industries is buying up land for a massive new terminal that will have a quayside of at least two kilometres, and possibly as much as three or four kilometres.
It is not just the short quay that is a drag on business here at JNPT. The line of lorries waiting on the road that comes into JNPT can stretch to five kilometres. Space on the trains that carry away roughly one-third of the containers is difficult to get. "The road outside the gate is the worst thing," said Darius Dadachanji, the general manager of engineering services at DP World Nhava Sheva. "It is the main bottleneck. You can put US$500 million (Dh1.8 billion) into making a port, but if you've got no road it doesn't make sense."
There have been improvements. It is now only 25km from the port's gate to the new Mumbai-Pune toll road, and another fast new road is expected in nearby Panvel.
Mr Raj said that dredging the harbour was an even more pressing need. After five years of delays, Van Oord Dredging won the bidding for the contract in August last year. But it then dropped out after India's central government delayed giving its final approval for more than six months. Even if work started tomorrow, the dredging would still not be completed by 2011. "We have offered our services to the port," Mr Raj said. "We went and told them that if they wanted us to help out in the dredging, we were quite happy to help out. But it has got to make financial sense for us." So far their offer has been rejected.
JNPT's position opposite India's most populous city and next to the manufacturing hub developing between Mumbai and Pune almost guarantees its future importance. And the surge in imports to India so far this decade has given DP World Nhava Sheva one of the best balances between export and import compared with anywhere else in the world. Container ships can arrive and leave fully loaded - an attractive proposition for ship owners.
But to keep its pride of place in DP World's Indian ports business, a breakthrough needs to be made with the Indian authorities. "If we can get everything sorted out, Nhava would be one of our most profitable ports," Mr Raj said. "But it certainly isn't now."
rorange@thenational.ae

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

If you go

Flights

Emirates flies from Dubai to Phnom Penh with a stop in Yangon from Dh3,075, and Etihad flies from Abu Dhabi to Phnom Penh with its partner Bangkok Airlines from Dh2,763. These trips take about nine hours each and both include taxes. From there, a road transfer takes at least four hours; airlines including KC Airlines (www.kcairlines.com) offer quick connecting flights from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville from about $100 (Dh367) return including taxes. Air Asia, Malindo Air and Malaysian Airlines fly direct from Kuala Lumpur to Sihanoukville from $54 each way. Next year, direct flights are due to launch between Bangkok and Sihanoukville, which will cut the journey time by a third.

The stay

Rooms at Alila Villas Koh Russey (www.alilahotels.com/ kohrussey) cost from $385 per night including taxes.

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Three ways to boost your credit score

Marwan Lutfi says the core fundamentals that drive better payment behaviour and can improve your credit score are:

1. Make sure you make your payments on time;

2. Limit the number of products you borrow on: the more loans and credit cards you have, the more it will affect your credit score;

3. Don't max out all your debts: how much you maximise those credit facilities will have an impact. If you have five credit cards and utilise 90 per cent of that credit, it will negatively affect your score.

Where to submit a sample

Volunteers of all ages can submit DNA samples at centres across Abu Dhabi, including: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre+(Adnec), Biogenix Labs in Masdar City, NMC Royal Hospital in Khalifa City, NMC Royal Medical Centre, Abu Dhabi, NMC Royal Women's Hospital, Bareen International Hospital, Al Towayya in Al Ain, NMC Specialty Hospital, Al Ain

Tips for newlyweds to better manage finances

All couples are unique and have to create a financial blueprint that is most suitable for their relationship, says Vijay Valecha, chief investment officer at Century Financial. He offers his top five tips for couples to better manage their finances.

Discuss your assets and debts: When married, it’s important to understand each other’s personal financial situation. It’s necessary to know upfront what each party brings to the table, as debts and assets affect spending habits and joint loan qualifications. Discussing all aspects of their finances as a couple prevents anyone from being blindsided later.

Decide on the financial/saving goals: Spouses should independently list their top goals and share their lists with one another to shape a joint plan. Writing down clear goals will help them determine how much to save each month, how much to put aside for short-term goals, and how they will reach their long-term financial goals.

Set a budget: A budget can keep the couple be mindful of their income and expenses. With a monthly budget, couples will know exactly how much they can spend in a category each month, how much they have to work with and what spending areas need to be evaluated.

Decide who manages what: When it comes to handling finances, it’s a good idea to decide who manages what. For example, one person might take on the day-to-day bills, while the other tackles long-term investments and retirement plans.

Money date nights: Talking about money should be a healthy, ongoing conversation and couples should not wait for something to go wrong. They should set time aside every month to talk about future financial decisions and see the progress they’ve made together towards accomplishing their goals.

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

What is the Supreme Petroleum Council?

The Abu Dhabi Supreme Petroleum Council was established in 1988 and is the highest governing body in Abu Dhabi’s oil and gas industry. The council formulates, oversees and executes the emirate’s petroleum-related policies. It also approves the allocation of capital spending across state-owned Adnoc’s upstream, downstream and midstream operations and functions as the company’s board of directors. The SPC’s mandate is also required for auctioning oil and gas concessions in Abu Dhabi and for awarding blocks to international oil companies. The council is chaired by Sheikh Khalifa, the President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi while Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, is the vice chairman.

The Bio

Ram Buxani earned a salary of 125 rupees per month in 1959

Indian currency was then legal tender in the Trucial States.

He received the wages plus food, accommodation, a haircut and cinema ticket twice a month and actuals for shaving and laundry expenses

Buxani followed in his father’s footsteps when he applied for a job overseas

His father Jivat Ram worked in general merchandize store in Gibraltar and the Canary Islands in the early 1930s

Buxani grew the UAE business over several sectors from retail to financial services but is attached to the original textile business

He talks in detail about natural fibres, the texture of cloth, mirrorwork and embroidery 

Buxani lives by a simple philosophy – do good to all

SPEC SHEET: APPLE M3 MACBOOK AIR (13")

Processor: Apple M3, 8-core CPU, up to 10-core CPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Display: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina, 2560 x 1664, 224ppi, 500 nits, True Tone, wide colour

Memory: 8/16/24GB

Storage: 256/512GB / 1/2TB

I/O: Thunderbolt 3/USB-4 (2), 3.5mm audio, Touch ID

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3

Battery: 52.6Wh lithium-polymer, up to 18 hours, MagSafe charging

Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD

Video: Support for Apple ProRes, HDR with Dolby Vision, HDR10

Audio: 4-speaker system, wide stereo, support for Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio and dynamic head tracking (with AirPods)

Colours: Midnight, silver, space grey, starlight

In the box: MacBook Air, 30W/35W dual-port/70w power adapter, USB-C-to-MagSafe cable, 2 Apple stickers

Price: From Dh4,599

GROUPS

Group Gustavo Kuerten
Novak Djokovic (x1)
Alexander Zverev (x3)
Marin Cilic (x5)
John Isner (x8)

Group Lleyton Hewitt
Roger Federer (x2)
Kevin Anderson (x4)
Dominic Thiem (x6)
Kei Nishikori (x7)

START-UPS IN BATCH 4 OF SANABIL 500'S ACCELERATOR PROGRAMME

Saudi Arabia

Joy: Delivers car services with affordable prices

Karaz: Helps diabetics with gamification, IoT and real-time data

Medicarri: Medical marketplace that connects clinics with suppliers

Mod5r: Makes automated and recurring investments to grow wealth

Stuck: Live, on-demand language support to boost writing

Walzay: Helps in recruitment while reducing hiring time

UAE

Eighty6: Marketplace for restaurant and supplier procurements

FarmUnboxed: Helps digitise international food supply chain

NutriCal: Helps F&B businesses and governments with nutritional analysis

Wellxai: Provides insurance that enables and rewards user habits

Egypt

Amwal: A Shariah-compliant crowd-lending platform

Deben: Helps CFOs manage cash efficiently

Egab: Connects media outlets to journalists in hard-to-reach areas for exclusives

Neqabty: Digitises financial and medical services of labour unions

Oman

Monak: Provides financial inclusion and life services to migrants

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Qureos
Based: UAE
Launch year: 2021
Number of employees: 33
Sector: Software and technology
Funding: $3 million

COMPANY PROFILE

Date started: 2020
Founders: Khaldoon Bushnaq and Tariq Seksek
Based: Abu Dhabi Global Market
Sector: HealthTech
Number of staff: 100
Funding to date: $15 million

The specs

Engine: 1.8-litre 4-cyl turbo
Power: 190hp at 5,200rpm
Torque: 320Nm from 1,800-5,000rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 6.7L/100km
Price: From Dh111,195
On sale: Now

UAE cricketers abroad

Sid Jhurani is not the first cricketer from the UAE to go to the UK to try his luck.

Rameez Shahzad Played alongside Ben Stokes and Liam Plunkett in Durham while he was studying there. He also played club cricket as an overseas professional, but his time in the UK stunted his UAE career. The batsman went a decade without playing for the national team.

Yodhin Punja The seam bowler was named in the UAE’s extended World Cup squad in 2015 despite being just 15 at the time. He made his senior UAE debut aged 16, and subsequently took up a scholarship at Claremont High School in the south of England.

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.