DP World H1 box volume dips 5pc due to Covid-19
DUBAI's DP World, one of the world's largest operators of ports with locations in more than 50 countries, handled 33.8 million containers in the first half of the year, down 5.3 per cent from the same period in 2019.
DP World's flagship Jebel Ali terminals in the UAE, saw first-half volumes down 6.8 per cent year on year to 6.7 million TEU, "due to Covid-19 and loss of lower-margin cargo".
However, Group chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said the company had outperformed the sector, after seeing volumes weaken by 7.9 per cent in the second quarter, which "compares favourably" against Drewry's estimated industry decline of 15 per cent in the second quarter and 10 per cent across the first half.
"This outperformance again demonstrates we are in the right locations, and a focus on origin and destination cargo will continue to deliver the right balance between growth and resilience."
Drewry said in a May report that the container industry is likely to be the most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, with global box trade set to be "heavily impacted" by disruption to the global economy, consumer spending and supply chains.
The global shipping industry's outlook for the next 12 to 18 months remains negative, unchanged from March, Moody's Investor Service said in July.
Expectations that the global economy will shrink this year, followed by a "long and bumpy" road to recovery are the main cause for the negative assessment, the credit rating agency said.
Looking ahead, DP World's Bin Sulayem said: "Our near-term focus is on the safety of our employees, providing solutions to cargo owners that are facing supply chain issues due to the pandemic, integrating our recent acquisitions to drive synergies, containing costs to protect profitability and managing growth capex to preserve cashflow.
"Overall, we are encouraged that our business has performed better than expected and, while the outlook is still uncertain, we remain positive on the medium to long-term fundamentals of the industry," he said.