DP World, one of the world's largest port operators, posted a 1.7 per cent increase in gross container shipping volumes in the first quarter of 2022, driven by higher volumes in the Asia Pacific, Middle East, Europe and Africa and Americas regions, as trade picked up.
The Dubai-based ports company handled 19.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, across its global portfolio of container terminals in three months to the end of March, it said in a statement on Thursday.
“As anticipated, first-quarter 2022 volume growth has softened due to the strong prior-year performance and uncertain macro environment,” Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World's chairman and chief executive, said. “However, we continue to see robust growth in markets such as Asia Pacific and the Americas, while in Europe, London Gateway’s strong performance has continued into 2022.”
Macroeconomic uncertainties are mounting globally following the Russia-Ukraine war, that has sent commodity prices to record highs in recent weeks, stoking inflation across the globe.
Russia is a major supplier of oil, gas and metals, and, together with Ukraine, of wheat and corn. A supply crunch of these commodities has already driven prices up sharply.
The International Monetary Fund lowered its growth forecast for the global economy this year, as Russia’s war in Ukraine has severely dented economic prospects, and inflation stoked by soaring commodities prices threatens to derail momentum.
The IMF now projects global growth at 3.6 per cent in 2022 and 2023, revised down 0.8 and 0.2 percentage points from its January forecasts, respectively.
DP World handled 8,451 TEUs of container volumes in the Asia Pacific and India region in the first quarter, up 1.2 per cent compared with the same period in 2021. Container volumes in Europe, the Middle East and Africa grew 1.4 per cent annually to 7,993 TEUs, while the Americas and Australia recorded growth of 4 per cent to 2,819 TEUs.
“Looking ahead, the near-term outlook is mixed given the geopolitical environment, but we remain positive on the medium to long-term fundamentals of the industry,” Mr bin Sulayem said.
DP World is also focused on integrating its recent acquisitions, “growing profitability while managing growth capex, delivering on our 2022 leverage targets and disciplined investment to cement DP World’s position as the logistics partner of choice”, he said.
Earlier this year, DP World concluded the acquisition of South Africa's Imperial Logistics for $890 million, strengthening its footprint in the world's second-largest continent.
Johannesburg-listed Imperial Logistics is an integrated logistics and market access company with operations in Africa and Europe.
The company also signed a preliminary agreement with the Angolan government to develop the country’s trade and logistics sector in February.