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Abu Dhabi box traffic increase - but at what cost?

ABU DHABI: May 02, 2016. Abu Dhabi Ports’ Khalifa container terminal reports a 5.0 percent increase in FTEs handled during Q1 2016 compared to last year.

Abu Dhabi Ports - ImageThe terminal moved 316,996 TEUs up from 302,151 TEUs in the Q1 2015. Commenting on the business growth, Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports said: “We aim to continue investing in innovative technologies and solutions, remaining customer focused in our service offerings and in building the capabilities of our national workforce.”

RoRo traffic at Khalifa Port saw a 31 percent increase with 33,687 vehicles handled, up from 25,709 in the same period in 2015. General and bulk cargo increased 13 percent to 3.98 million tonnes from 3.5 million over the previous year.

The Khalifa Industrial Zone added KSB Service, Polysys Additive Technologies Middle East, National Food Products Company and Gulf Printing and Packaging during Q1. The zone covers 13 million sq.mt. and represents AED 55 billion from over 90 local and international investors.

Notwithstanding the upturn at the Khalifa box terminal, Drewry Maritime Research has noted that the current container market downturn extends beyond carriers. The company said some independent ship-owners are now faced with either lowering charter rates to help save ailing carriers or risking their assets becoming idle.

Drewry noted that while much of the focus on the recent slump has been on the bottom lines of operators moving cargo, shipowners increasingly are becoming exposed to the financial weakness of their clients and more could face the "tough dilemma of either reducing charter rates upon request or having to idle, sell or scrap" their assets," it said.

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