Volumes at the terminals DP World controls have fallen by 2.3% in the third quarter of 2018 on a like-for-like basis led by bad results in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In a statement, DP World only gave volumes totals on a non like-for-like basis, meaning they include Berbera, Limassol, Doraleh, Saigon and normalise for the consolidation of Santos. These volumes fell by 3% from 9.38m teu in the third quarter of 2017 to 9.11m teu in the third quarter of 2018.
The fall was particularly steep in DP World’s most important region – Europe, Middle East and Africa – where volumes from 5.93m teu to 5.55m teu. This region includes DP World’s hub of Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates.
Throughput in the UAE was down 6.7% in the third quarter due to what the company described as “the challenging macroenvironment and loss of lower-margin cargo”.On the other hand, the company said that “growth in Europe remained robust with strong growth in London Gateway and Rotterdam”.
DP World CEO Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said: “As highlighted in our first half throughput announcement, we have seen our volume growth decelerate due to the strong prior year performance and general caution in the market given the current uncertainty in global trade. In the UAE, the volume weakness in 3Q2018 is mainly due to loss of low-margin throughput, where our focus remains on profitable cargo and, while the near-term volume outlook in Jebel Ali remains challenging, we have taken measures to maintain profitability.
“On our wider portfolio, we have made good progress in strengthening our product offering to play a greater role in the global supply chain as a trade enabler. We continue to focus on delivering operational excellence, managing costs and disciplined investment to remain the port operator of choice. We are also pleased to state that despite the softer volumes, we are on track to meet market expectations.”
Volumes in Asia, Pacific and the sub-continent fell less quickly – by 2.7% from 2.54m teu to 2.48m teu.
Volumes in the Americas and Australia actually increased from 0.91m teu to 1.07m teu. Although this was a 17.5% increase, on a like-for-like basis it was actually a 0.4% fall. On a like-for-like basis, Santos’s volumes are normalised for the consolidation.
While the third quarter has been disappointing for DP World though, the first nine months of 2018 have been better – with volumes up 2.2% in total on a like-for-like basis.