In an interview with Gulf News, the Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Ports has said that he will be targeting double-digit growth in the coming years and plans to increase the capacity at Khalifa Port to handle more cargo.
“We are looking at all of the trade and how to support the trade. In the container business we have a solid growth. We are investing in new cranes and increasing the capacity in Khalifa Port to reach 2.5 million TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit) capacity,” said Captain Mohammad Juma Al Shamisi on the sidelines of Seatrade Offshore Marine and Workboats Middle East Conference in Abu Dhabi.
“We are trying to be ahead of the game in terms of having right infrastructure to support the economy of Abu Dhabi and in line with the vision 2030,” he said explaining that the double-digit growth target had been decided on with due consideration of the tough global economic situation created by the falling oil prices and slowdown in the Chinese economy.
“It will not be a wise thing if we ignore what’s happening globally specially in relation to lower prices oil, and China situation. When I say double-digit, it is tough but it is our ambition. We want to sustain our growth.”
In the first seven months, Abu Dhabi Ports has grown by 40 percent in the container business, by more than 20 percent in general cargo and bulk and in the roll on roll, related to transportation of cars, by 11 percent.
On falling oil prices and how the port operations are impacted, he said they are trying to adapt to the market and do things differently. “We’ve been through these before. It is a tough period. We are trying to lower operation expenditure and invest in technology.”
Oil prices have plunged by more than 50 percent since last year due to lower demand and over production. Brent, the global benchmark is trading at less than $50 in recent times.
Shamisi said 10 new companies will be starting their operations in Kizad (Khalifa Industrial Zone Authority) in the next six months and a new cruise terminal at Mina Zayed will be ready by the end of the year.
Abu Dhabi Ports control three international ports mainly Khalifa Port, Mina Zayed and Musaffah port. The Company is linked directly to more than 100 global ports and is expected to contribute Dh49.6 billion to the emirate’s GDP by 2030 and help to create more than 100,000 jobs.
More than 200 companies are taking part in the three-day Seatrade Conference being held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre this week, with the drop in oil prices and the impact on sea trade dominating the discussions.