By Mohamed Ayyad and Rehab Saber
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of DP World, said the company plans to acquire 10% of goods traded globally by the end of the year.
He said the company aims to do this by trading 56 million containers as part of its efforts to revive the global trade.
This will also be done by entering into new markets in East and West Africa, in addition to the 65 container terminals operated by the company across the world. This would be most notably in London and Australia, he continued in statements made at the sidelines of a media forum held in Dubai on 8 December. During the conference, attendees discussed trends and future investment in ports in the Middle East and the Arab World .
The UAE has been instrumental in supporting Egypt both financially and in terms of investments at present following the overthrow of former president Mohamed Morsi , along with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Mohammed Al-Muallem, Director General of DP World, said consultations are underway with Egypt regarding introducing expansions in the Ain Sokhna Port. He said that this is subject to the port operating at 70% capacity, with it currently operating at no more than 50% of capacity.
“DP World’s expansion in Egypt and its acquiring new projects next to the Ain Sokhna container port, as well as expanding its investments in Ain Sokhna Port itself, are related to the requirements of global navigation companies,” Bin Sulayem said, adding that the company would not allow for crowding at any port it operated.
Al-Muallem said that Egypt is on the right track under the plans announced by the new administration, but explained that Egypt is still awaiting implementation on the ground. However, Al-Muallem believes that the attitude towards investors in Egypt must be changed so as not to harm serious investors and protect public funds.
The Egyptian leadership should improve the business environment to speed up access to markets, secure investments, and ensure investors’ rights in case of exit, he explained.
According to Al-Muallem: “The commercial renaissance and the development witnessed by Dubai now reflects the vision laid out by former generations.”
He explained that the Egyptian administration should improve research management in order to undertake something similar.
“The company is interested in participating in Egyptian port projects, especially the development project in the new Suez Canal, and is considering expanding its activities in Egypt,” the company head said. The Egyptian economy has become more stable after the events of 30 June, following three years of turmoil, he added.
Bin Sulayem revealed that the company has supplied $6bn in investments to Egypt since 2006, including $55m allocated toward purchasing cranes for Ain Sokhna Port.
Bin Sulayem confirmed that the Egyptian economy experienced turmoil during the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, which influenced company business in Ain Sokhna Port. Last year, the port was able to handle 555,000 containers, which makes up 50% of its capacity.
He said that the company is moving towards building up the capacity of container terminal No. 3, which was inaugurated last month, at the Jebel Ali Port. The facility is said to be approximately 30% more efficient in terms of carbon emissions compared to conventional container plants.