Over the past decade the company has seen consistent growth, averaging more than 12% compared to global market growth of 8.6% in the same period. In 2012, the company’s terminal at Khorfakkan was the fastest growing transhipment hub in the world with 24% growth.
The company also has ambitions to become one of the top six global container terminal operators. Towards this aim, it recently became the largest terminal operator in the Middle East in terms of the number of terminals operated, following its majority acquisition of Gulf Stevedoring Contracting Company in Saudi Arabia. This saw it take full management of the North Container Terminal Jeddah, Jubail Container Terminal and Jubail Industrial Port.
Its current portfolio not only covers four UAE operations in Khorfakkan, Sharjah, Hamriyah and Ruwais but also activities in Iraq at Umm Qasr, Recife in Brazil, and Tripoli Port in Lebanon. Its range of new terminal projects is spread across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, along with North and South America.
Looking to the USA, the company does not foresee the same problems of a Middle Eastern company entering the market as experienced by DP World in 2006, when the latter was controversially blocked by the US Congress on ‘security grounds’ after its take-over of P&O Ports, which included ownership of facilities in North America.
Although no name has been revealed, Gulftainer, which is part of the Crescent Enterprises Group, is close to announcing a deal with a port operator on the US East Coast. The company has been looking at two locations; however, it will only choose one.
Describing the situation, managing director, Peter Richards, said: “The world has changed and the US has changed. It wants investment. We’ve been given a green light!”
“The name ‘Gulftainer’ is already seen as a credible and reliable partner and we wish to expand this partnership with our customers to new ports and terminals around the world,” said Richards.
“We have grown close to our customers over recent decades and they have developed a trust in our performance as the most productive port operator in the world; our growth in the future will rely on their support and continued partnership as we work to retain and prove our capabilities on a wider stage,” he added.