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Thursday, November 2, 2017

UAE- DP World eyes expansion in Africa



(KT)- Dubai-based global ports operator DP World is looking to expand its footprint across Africa with investment going into 'billions', said a senior company official on Thursday.
Speaking at the Global Business Forum Africa 2017, Mohammed Al Muallem, senior vice-president and managing director, DP World, UAE region, said there are projects in the pipeline that the company is currently looking at with investments going into billions because infrastructure projects require huge funding.

"Africa is our focus; there are projects in pipeline that we are looking at. We have grown from 5 to 7 locations over the last 2 years. We see huge potential in Africa and we can be right partner because of experience and knowledge we have. We have long-term commitments to Africa to make sure that we are part of growth of Africa," Al Muallem said at the forum.

"We are in Mozambique, Senegal, Egypt, Algeria and Somaliland. It's not just that our focus is on marine side, but we also want to be there in countries that are landlocked," Al Muallem revealed during the forum discussion.

He said the Somaliland port's capacity to be expanded from 150,000 TEUs to 250,000 TEUs in 2 years.

DP World posted $1.1 billion (Dh 4 billion) profits for 2016, an increase of 28 per cent, supported by acquisition of Jebel Ali Free Zone and a terminal in Canada. Al Muallem pointed out that the group is not just looking at marine terminals but at logistics, economic zones, inland dry ports and customs as well.

"We know they have great movement in terms of intra Africa trade, so we are positioning ourselves from marine perspectives to logistics and economic zones that's where we are expanding into.

"We want to build capabilities on the coast from where we can move inside; so we are looking at rivers and connectivity at big lakes within Africa. We want to be complete solution of supply chain where goods can move door-to-door in most efficient way," he added.

Al Muallem revealed that the group is looking at almost everything that is related to supply chain because it helps reduce costs. "If you don't have right supply chain base, the cost really adds up and you're not very competitive. We are looking at how and where we can invest and improve in order to expedite and generate more opportunities for moving lots of cargo and trade between countries." He highlighted that lack of proper infrastructure is also a major hindrance for growth.

"Country might have capability to trade but the bottlenecks is infrastructure. And that is where we are coming because of our knowledge, experience and expertise as an international company. We know from our knowledge that certain regions are growing very nicely because of infrastructure which has impact on the cost. To move things from one place to another, if you have things in right place, you can compete with the rest of the world."

- waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com
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