DP World, one of the world's largest port operators, recorded a 10.2 per cent increase in first-quarter container shipping volumes and anticipated delivering an improved performance in 2021, as the global economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The global ports operator handled 18.9 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in the first three months of 2021, up from 17.2m TEUs in the same quarter last year, DP World said in a statement on Thursday. All its regions recorded growth, led by the Americas and Australia, where volumes rose 17.7 per cent to 2.7m containers.
"This performance is ahead of expectations and illustrates the resilience of the global container industry, and DP World's continued ability to outperform the market," Sultan bin Sulayem, chairman of DP World, said.
"Trade volume growth has accelerated and our strategy of providing integrated supply chain solutions to beneficial cargo owners has allowed us to benefit from this recovery ... overall, the strong start to the year leaves us well placed to deliver an improved performance in 2021."
DP World's first quarter throughput outperformed the wider industry's estimated growth of 8.9 per cent, the chairman said, citing data by London-based shipping consultant Drewry.
Global trade is set to improve after a rebound in the second half of last year due to pent-up demand for consumer durables from advanced economies such as cars and the resumption of supply chains in emerging markets, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Trade is forecast to expand 8.4 per cent this year and 6.5 per cent next year after shrinking 8.5 per cent in 2020, according to the fund’s estimates. Last month, the Washington-based lender raised its global economic forecast as a result of quicker Covid-19 vaccination campaigns and fiscal and monetary support provided by governments and central banks. It now sees global output at 6 per cent in 2021 following a 3.3 per cent contraction last year.
DP World's first-quarter gross volumes were 9.6 per cent higher than the same quarter last year on a like-for-like basis. Consolidated volumes grew 8.2 per cent year-on-year on a reported basis and up 7 per cent on a like-for-like basis.
DP World said its flagship Jebel Ali port handled 3.5m TEUs in the first quarter of 2021, up 2.6 per cent year-on-year.
Despite a "more benign trading environment", DP World remains focused on containing costs to grow profitability, managing growth capex and continuing to execute its strategy of delivering supply chain solutions to cargo owners, Mr bin Sulayem said.
"Looking ahead, while the near-term trading environment is positive, we remain mindful that the economic recovery can be disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, geopolitical uncertainty in some parts of the world and on-going trade war," he added.
Last year, the Covid-19 global health crisis sent countries into lockdowns, paralysing international travel and disrupting supply chains that plunged the global economy into its deepest recession since the 1930s.
Source: The National News - Business