Ports operator DP World yesterday reported a sharp drop in shipping container volumes in the UAE in the first quarter of 2019 and flat growth globally.
DP World operates 78 marine and inland terminals, supported by over 50 related businesses in over 40 countries.
Gross container volumes fell by 0.6% on a reported basis and gross like-for-like volumes declined by 0.7%, it said in a statement.
The Dubai-based company handled 3.5mn TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) in the UAE, down 8.8% due “to the challenging macro environment and loss of lower-margin cargo”, it said.
It handled 17.5mn TEUs globally, similar to volumes a year earlier.
Consolidated volumes, at terminals over which DP World has control, fell 3% on a like-for-like basis to 9.2mn TEUs, it said.
The company saw softer volumes “due to a strong prior-year performance and general caution in some markets given the current uncertainty in the macro environment,” DP World Group chairman and chief executive Sultan bin Sulayem said.
In the UAE, volume weakness was mainly due to a loss of low-margin throughput as it focuses on profitable cargo, he said.
“While we expect the recent trends to continue into the second quarter, we do expect an improvement in the second half of the year,” he said.
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