SHARJAH’S LARGEST PORT HANDLER SEES DOUBLE DIGIT GROWTH IN 2013 – says Peter Richards


Sharjah-based Gulftainer, one of the world’s largest privately owned port management and logistics companies, continues to increase its footprint both locally and internationally, and are poised to register a double digit growth again in 2013.
The company operates three main UAE ports: two on behalf of the Sharjah Port Authority – Sharjah Container Terminal (SCT) and Khorfakkan Container Terminal (KCT); and one in Ruwais.
Gulftainer’s group managing director, Peter Richards disclosed that the company has surged ahead with further expansion plans within existing operations to allow for greater capacity and the increasing size of vessels now requiring access to the ports.
“Our figures are indicative of the UAE’s growing influence as an import and export hub, and even more so of the east coast’s popularity for containership operators,” said Richards.
He added that it is an exciting time for the company, as it anticipates a double-digit growth this year.
In January this year, Khorfakkan Container became the first terminal operator in the Middle East to handle the world’s largest containership, CMA CGM Marco Polo, owned by the CMA CGM Group.
Khorfakkan is one of the few ports in the world able to accommodate Marco Polo’s massive 16,020 TEU capacity.
“Having grown up with the industry here in the region, Gulftainer has evolved significantly during the past four decades and the arrival of this vessel is indicative of our forward-thinking approach and understanding of what we can expect in the years to come,” Richards added.
Having seen volumes increase at Khorfakkan in 2012, Gulftainer has ensured it stays ahead of the trend and the terminal is well prepared to handle mega-containerships beyond the 16,000 TEU handling capacity.
“The size of containership vessels is only expected to increase,” says Group Managing Director of Gulftainer, Peter Richards, “as clients demand more cost effective movement of cargo, and operators demand greater fuel efficiency. Marco Polo is the first of a new breed of containership vessels, something that Gulftainer has pre-empted for many years, ensuring that its facilities are more than ready to accommodate these types of vessels.”
Its arrival at KCT was marked with a presentation from Gulftainer to Captain Igor Sikic of the Marco Polo and CMA CGM representatives; Dubai Agency Deputy General Manager, Prinson George and Arnaud Coudray, Commercial Regional Director for the Middle East Gulf. The Marco Polo proceeded to its final port at Ningbo, China having covered a total distance of approximately 20,000 nautical miles since the commencement of its voyage on Nov.7 last year. It is the first of a series of three 16,000 TEU vessels from CMA CGM, that will all be named after great explorers.
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