DP World joint venture wins concession for berths in France's Le Havre

Companies awarded concessions for constructing and operating berths 11 and 12 at Port 2000 in Le Havre

Terminal tractors line up as they are loaded with containers from a cargo ship at DP World's fully automated Terminal 2 at Jebel Ali Port in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 27, 2018. Picture taken December 27, 2018. REUTERS/ Hamad I Mohammed
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A DP World joint venture won concessions for two berths in Le Havre port on France's north coast as the global ports operator continues expansion amid challenging global market conditions.

The venutre between DP World and France's container operator Terminal Link — PortSynergy Group (GMP) is contracted to build and operate berths 11 and 12 at Port 2000 under a 34-year concession, according to a statement on Monday.

"The addition of the two new berths will enable us to secure more volume and provide high-efficiency services," said Louis Jonquiere, managing director of GMP. "As a major hub port, the expansion in the terminal will facilitate the capture of more volume from the trade, benefiting from the momentum that has built in the region."

DP World, the world's largest port operator with terminals from Vancouver to Hong Kong, through its joint venture already has existing operations in the port of Le Havre at berth 5, according to its website.

The new concession agreement in France includes two years of studies and design, two years of civil engineering work and 30 years of operation, according to the statement. The new terminal will add a further capacity of one million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), including a 700 metre-long quay and a 42-hectare site. GMP will invest in two new container berths spanning across 700 metres.

“DP World and its partners will continue to build on the port’s important position as a key logistics hub in Europe," Rashid Abdulla, chief executive of DP World in Europe, said.

The companies did not provide a timeline for the start or completion of the project and did not reveal the amount of investment in the new terminal.

"We aim to enable smarter trade and create a much stronger economic engine for the national and regional market," Mr Jonquiere.

In October, Nasdaq Dubai-listed DP World said it expects full-year earnings to be in line with market expectations as it focuses on integrating recent acquisitions, managing costs and disciplined investment.

In July, DP World acquired Topaz Energy and Marine, marking its first foray into the oil and gas sector. The company has been on an investment spree since 2018 as its growth strategy evolves to include the wider logistics supply chain.

Last month, DP World warned of a "challenging macro backdrop" from global trade tensions and an "uncertain" outlook from geopolitical tensions after reporting a drop in third-quarter shipping container volumes across its global terminals.

The company's gross container volumes fell 1.6 per cent to 17.7 million TEUs compared with18m a year ago amid declining volumes in Asia Pacific and India and flat growth in Dubai.

Threats from an escalating trade war between the US and China, the world's two biggest economies, have been weighing on business confidence and clouding the outlook for future growth.

Geopolitical friction in the Middle East between the US and Iran has also led to tensions in the Strait of Hormuz, prompting a US-led coalition of countries to commit troops, planes and ships to accompany and track vessels passing through the Gulf. The ongoing saga of the UK's exit from the European Union has also fuelled uncertainty and hurt business confidence.