DP World Ltd., the world’s third-largest port operator, increased container volumes at its terminals 7.5 percent in the first half, with its Asia Pacific and Indian subcontinent operations driving growth.
DP World handled 28.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units at its more than 60 terminals compared with 26.2 million TEUs a year earlier, the company said today in a statement. Volume in the Asia Pacific and Indian subcontinent regions rose the most in the period at 12 percent.
Global container volumes will probably grow 4.3 percent this year, Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd. said July 3. Because of the weakness in Europe’s economy, the industry won’t have a strong peak season in 2012 and operators will experience some “rate erosion” in the summer, it said.
“Traditionally we’ve seen a second half that is stronger than the first half,” DP World Chief Financial Officer Yuvraj Narayan said on a conference call. “We are still uncomfortable to say that will be repeated this year,” though the company will “definitely end up with one-and-a-half times of what Drewry says.”
Volumes in the Americas and Australia trailed behind Asia, rising 6 percent to 3.3 million TEUs. Europe, the Middle East and Africa increased 3.2 percent to 11.6 million boxes, with weaker trade in Europe.
“Europe continues to remain challenging,” Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said during the call. The company is more resilient than operators that are more concentrated on Europe and it won’t revise any expansion plans in the region, he said.
Policy makers in the 27-nation European Union are considering measures to keep the monetary union intact as debt troubles in nations including Greece, Italy and Spain threaten the euro. The euro-area economy may shrink 0.4 percent this year, according to the median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg survey.
DP World is working on 11 new developments and expansions globally including in France, the Netherlands, Brazil and China, according to its website. It is also developing the London Gateway deep-sea port in the U.K., which will start operating in the fourth quarter of 2013 and will have a capacity of 3.5 million TEUs a year.
“The global macroeconomic uncertainty seen in the first quarter of the year has continued, and if anything, has increased through the second quarter,” Group Chief Executive Mohammed Sharaf said in the statement. “Despite this more challenging environment, the majority of our global portfolio continues to show resilience and we remain committed to delivering an improved operational and financial performance over 2011.”
The ports operator is also investing in an additional 1 million twenty-foot equivalent units of capacity at its Jebel Ali port in Dubai this year and in a new 4 million TEU container terminal scheduled to become operational in 2014, the company said in March.
Shares of DP World traded on Nasdaq Dubai gained 0.5 percent to $10.20 at 12:29 p.m., bringing their advance this year to 5.8 percent.
The company plans to announce first-half results Aug. 29.