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DUBAI: A report from business analysts IHS suggests Dubai will make an US$8 billion cargo infrastructure investment along with US$10 billion in private sector contributions to help position the GCC as a global cargo leader by 2020.

Richard Clayton, chief maritime analyst at IHS says: "All eyes will be on Dubai in 2020 as it hosts the WorldExpo event and it is promising to be the biggest yet. New roads, a peninsula-wide rail project, another airport, hotels, energy plants and event venues will generate project cargo on a grand scale."

Dubai Al Maktoum second airport Noting the region is home to the Jebel Ali mega facility and the world's largest man-made port, IHS forecasts that by the end of the year it will have an annual container capacity of 19 million TEUs rising to 20 million by 2020.

In partnership with the new Dubai airport, IHS expects Jebel Ali to generate as much as 12 million tonnes of sea-air cargo, five times more than the current level, "as the country positions itself as the port for Africa, the subcontinent and the Middle East."

According to IHS chief economist Nariman Behravesh: "Economies considered to be 'dull and old' - like those of the US, Germany, UK and Japan - will drive the global recovery in 2014. The return to global growth will have a very positive impact on the Middle East, especially the Gulf countries," he added. "We are seeing consumer spending is on the rise, the regional unemployment rate will be below that of France, Germany and Italy for the next three years and compound annual growth rates are forecast to be above-average through 2035."

The IHS study says the region presents investors with significant growth opportunities across defense, chemical, automotive, energy and maritime sectors to 2020. In addition to the spending on a new maritime infrastructure, the region's defence spending is forecast to total US$920 billion in the next six years; investments in the chemical industry will produce an eight percent year-on-year growth by 2016; automotive light vehicle sales will grow 30 percent by 2020; and growth in demand for energy will require US$350 billion of new investment during the period.

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