DP World continued to see overall volume growth in the first nine months of the year but a strong performance the previous year means this is decelerating. Volume weakness in the UAE has been caused by the operator shifting away from lower margin cargo.
Third quarter overall volumes down 1.4% to 18m teu.
DUBAI-based ports operator DP World saw overall throughput of 53.6m teu in the first nine months of 2018, up 2.6 % from 52.3m teu in the previous corresponding period.
Volumes slowed down in the third quarter however, shrinking 1.4% to 18.0m teu, due to a higher base in the third quarter of 2017 and softer volumes in the UAE DP World said in a press release.
The UAE terminals handled 11.3m teu in the year-to-date, down 2.1% year-on-year. Third quarter volumes in the UAE slid even further, falling 6.7% to 3.6m teu due to the challenging macroenvironment and loss of lower-margin cargo. Growth in Europe remained robust with strong growth in London Gateway and Rotterdam and volumes in the Europe, Middle East and Africa segment rose 1.7% to 22.3% in the first nine months.
The Asia-Pacific and Indian subcontinent terminals saw volume grow 3.1% in the year-to-date to 24.7m teu while the smallest segment, the Americas and Australia, saw the fastest growth in throughput rising 3.7% to 6.m teu.
DP World group chairman and chief executive officer Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said: “As highlighted in our first half throughput announcement, we have seen our volume growth decelerate due to the strong prior year performance and general caution in the market given the current uncertainty in global trade.”
He added: “In the UAE, the volume weakness in 3Q2018 is mainly due to loss of low-margin throughput, where our focus remains on profitable cargo and, while the near term volume outlook in Jebel Ali remains challenging, we have taken measures to maintain profitability.”