DUBAI -- DP World, the global marine terminal operator based in the United Arab Emirates, is ramping up investments in emerging economies to capture the growing distribution demand in these areas.
The company is on track to pour $3.7 billion into these markets over three years through 2014. Its investment portfolio focusing on fast-expanding markets from a medium- to long-term perspective is in good shape, Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said in March.
DP World built a new container terminal at the Brazilian port of Santos last September, and a facility under construction in the Indian city of Mumbai will be completed next year. It has begun construction on a terminal in a port near Istanbul as well.
The company is also developing its European operations, bolstering capacities in London and Rotterdam. Having invested more than $1 billion last year, it plans to spend as much as $1.9 billion this year.
The string of investments is expected to boost DP World's consolidated container capacity to 43 million 20-foot-equivalent units, or TEUs, by 2015, up more than 20% from the end of 2013. The company plans to raise the figure to 55 million TEUs by 2020.
While keen on expansion, DP World does not hesitate to weigh anchor if it is not making enough money at a particular port. Its investment strategy is to use this flexible business approach to pour funds into ports with high growth potential.
Despite its global network of more than 65 sites, DP World's flagship operation remains Jebel Ali Port in its home city of Dubai, the biggest in the Middle East and the world's largest man-made harbor. The company recently worked on expanding Jebel Ali, a maritime transport hub that fueled Dubai's growth into a key business center in the region.
But Jebel Ali is geographically disadvantaged. Dubai may be a convenient location for re-exporting to Iran, Iraq and such Arabian Peninsula countries as Saudi Arabia. But vessels traveling on the main shipping routes linking Asia, Europe and Africa have to make a detour to the Persian Gulf to stop by Dubai.
This is why DP World is aggressively investing all over the world. Besides diversifying risks, it seeks to tap profits from potential competitor ports and bring the money back to the UAE.