Deep-water Ports Give Region Competitive Edge

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Managing new larger-draft ships, key to future growth of Mid East trade - technology and environmental issues also major challenges for region’s ports

Senior executives from the region’s largest ports and shipping organisations, including ADPC (Abu Dhabi Ports Company) and DP World, took to the stage today (Tuesday 29 March) at the World Ports and Trade Summit.

Tony Douglas, CEO, ADPC (Abu Dhabi Ports Company), joined Dirk Van Den Bosch, Chief Commercial Officer, DP World and Peter Ford, CEO, Port of Salalah, Oman in discussing the future challenges and opportunities for the Middle East ports and trade sector.

The consensus was that customer service, connectivity, future growth and environment, were issues that would need to be addressed as the industry moves forward. However, in particular, the trend towards larger ships, some reaching individual capacities of 18,000 TEUs, and the challenges this creates for ports throughout the region was key. 

“Such large vessels require deep-water ports and the Middle East is among the few regions able to support such ships,” said Tony Douglas, CEO, ADPC (Abu Dhabi Ports Company).

Providing an overview of the immense Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD) project, Douglas spoke about the instrumental role ADPC is playing within the Abu Dhabi 2030 development plan. “The Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 sets out for  KIZAD to contribute up to 15% of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil and gas revenue,” said Douglas.

In creating a large project, such as the 417 square kilometre industrial zone and the giant Khalifa Port adjacent to it, he outlined the key industry issues such as customer service, connectivity, future growth and the environment.

A defining aspect of KIZAD is its integration with transport links, lying within close proximity to the UAE’s three major international airports, with plans to also tie in with the Etihad Rail network once completed. “Projects of this scale don’t work without such transport links,” added Douglas.

Dirk Van Den Bosch, Chief Commercial Officer, DP World, also spoke about how robust the region’s ports are. He pointed to estimated growth of $15 billion in shipping lines, handling increased volumes up to 600 million TEUs by 2011, from lows of 470 million TEUs in 2009.

He also highlighted the estimated average annual throughput growth of 8% per year between 2009 and 2015 for the region’s ports as further evidence of strong sustainable growth.

Peter Ford, CEO, Port of Salalah, Oman, addressed similar challenges and opportunities, in the framework of investment, political, competitive and environmental pressures. In particular, he emphasised the significant infrastructure costs for ports in catering to larger ships, including crane sizes, increased dredging depths and IT costs.

The World Ports and Trade Summit also features an international exhibition, a hosted tour of Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, training workshops and a series of roundtables.

Jointly organised by Turret Media and Seatrade, the World Ports and Trade Summit is sponsored by the UAE Department of Transport, Bechtel, General Holding Company, Critical National Infrastructure Authority, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Etihad Crystal Cargo, Boskalis Westminster Middle East, DNV, Citi, Emirates Aluminium, UASC, Al Hilal Bank.

The World Ports and Trade Summit is supported by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, Abu Dhabi Terminals, Department of Economic Development, DP World, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Arab Sea Ports Federation and Organisation of the Islamic Ship Owners Association.

Source: Abu Dhabi Ports Company

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