LONDON: DP World gross container volumes jumped in the second quarter as its regional operations shrugged off the impact of disruption to cargo shipments to Qatar. The Dubai state-owned ports operator said second-quarter gross container volumes gained 10.7 percent year-on-year on a reported basis and 10.4 percent on a like-for-like basis. Improving global trade boosted performance in all three regions and volumes also increased in Jebel Ali despite the disruption to container traffic following the start of a boycott of Qatar by the UAE, Saudi, Bahrain and Egypt who accuse the country of supporting terror groups. It meant that ships sailing to and from Doha were stopped from calling at other major ports in Saudi, Bahrain and the UAE — home to Jebel Ali, the region’s largest port. Last month international shipping companies including Maersk said they would no longer be able to transport goods bound for or originating from Qatar through Jebel Ali Port.
A DP World spokesman said the boycott did not have “a material impact” on volumes over the period as it impacted mainly small transhipments. The ports operator did not say whether the ongoing boycott was expected to have an impact on its regional cargo volumes in the third quarter. Still, despite having a major impact on the regional transhipment of goods, freight volumes between Qatar and other regional ports only represent a small fraction of DP World’s global operations which have been spurred by rebounding trade. “Our portfolio has delivered ahead-of-market growth benefitting from the improved trading environment in 2017 and market share gains from the new shipping alliances, driving volumes in the second quarter,” said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, group chairman and chief executive of DP World. The IMF this week left its 2017 forecast for global growth of 3.5 percent unchanged as better growth in China, the euro zone and Japan compensated for faltering growth in the UK and US. It expects the global economy to expand by 3.6 percent next year — also unchanged from its previous forecast in April. DP World operates 78 marine and inland terminals worldwide and has a 36,500-strong workforce. Its core business is container handling which generates more than three quarters of its revenues. The company handled around 64 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) last year.