GULF Cooperation Council ports' throughput is expected to rise by seven per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to 35 million TEU by 2020, while capacity will surge from 30 million TEU to 45 million TEU to maintain utilisation in the 70-80 per cent range.
The GCC, formally known as the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, is a regional intergovernmental body of Arab states of the Persian Gulf except for Iraq.
Member states include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Speaking at the Global Liner Shipping conference in Dubai, senior vice president of DP World in the United Arab Emirates, Mohammad Al Muallem, revealed that US$36 billion would be invested in port development in the GCC.
He was quoted as saying in a report by Seatrade Global, Colchester, England, that "regional port infrastructure will keep pace with the increasing demand."
Last year 12,200 vessels called at Jebel Ali, and 15.2 million TEU were handled, with 180 shipping lines visiting the port that operate 90 weekly services.
There is no doubt that Jebel Ali, as a successful transhipment hub, will continue to add capacity at pace as the population and consumption increases, bringing more origin and destination cargo in future.
Future blueprints include four larger fingers reaching out beyond the existing Terminal 2 into the sea.
Terminal 3 came online in November, with an additional two million TEU capacity, and another two million TEU is due to be added later this year.
The terminal operator also plans to offer hull-cleaning, bunker services, waste and sludge collection, tank container cleaning facilities, cargo conversion and logistics services.
In nurturing the supply-chain envisaged when the UAE adds rail to sea, air and road in 2018, he said the keys to success would be adequate storage facilities, and equipment upgrades as well as unit increases to deal with increasing volumes.
Meanwhile, Mr Al Muallem anticipates that freight rates will grow by just 0.4 per cent this year, while bunker prices have fallen to a six-year low of US$242.
Source : HKSG.