Long-term confidence: Mohammed Sharaf

An interview with Mohammed Sharaf, the chief executive of DP World.

Mohammed Sharaf, the chief executive of DP World.
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The confidence level is high. As you see, we opened Doraleh and Ho Chi Minh City operations in 2009, we acquired a share in a JV Brazil to build a terminal there, and we are opening two terminals this year: one in India, Vallarpadam, and the other in Peru. With the London Gateway project, we are building the basic infrastructure and dredging work has started March 13. We are going to be testing the market but we are confident as this is a long-term infrastructure business. The average concession life across our portfolio is 43 years.

We don't have a specific date but we think it will be in June. The monsoon season is there at that time so there is bound to be some delays. We are in the final stages, some of the equipment is arriving so the opening is going to be by June, or maximum July, August.

It was a very tough year. Gross volumes across the industry declined by 12 per cent and ours by 6 per cent. Non-container volumes in the UAE declined by 29 per cent with a significant impact on Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) and our second-half numbers, due to a slowdown in real estate in the region. There are markets around the world down by 50 per cent year on year, and they will take some time to come back.