BERTH RIGHT

Dubai 2016 | MARITIME | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Mohammed Al Muallem, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, UAE Region at DP World, on plans for a luxury yacht marina and supporting the economy of the UAE.

Mohammed Al Muallem
BIOGRAPHY
With almost three decades of port terminal operations and management experience, Mohammed Al Muallem, the Senior Vice President & Managing Director, UAE Region at DP World, has led the growth and development of the region’s most important port through a period of major expansions. He has a degree in industrial engineering from the University of Portland, Oregon.

DP World has announced plans to build a marina for luxury yachts at Port Rashid. Is Dubai experiencing a growing demand for yacht facilities?

Dubai is tapping into the rapidly growing cruise sector and will be a major destination for the finest cruise ships in the world. The development of Mina Rashid Marina supports Dubai's long-term strategy to stimulate growth and development in the already strong tourism sector. Dubai and the UAE are clearly seen as the tourist destination of choice in the region. It has stability, combined with a beautiful setting and modern infrastructure. The rapid increase in arrivals at the Dubai Cruise Terminal season after season is testimony to the commitment of Dubai's government to continue to promote this city's tourism potential. The continuous growth of the general population together with the continuing development of boating culture suggest that additional berths will be necessary to moor a growing number of recreational vessels. The continued growth in travel and tourism should bring larger numbers of transient boaters to Dubai over the next decade and facilities will be required to support and dock these visitors. Mina Rashid Marina will be a high-end and dynamic yachting destination with state-of-the-art facilities for visitors, passengers, captains, and crew of the cruise vessels. The project has many strengths, including its location, deep water, planned upland amenities, pent-up demand, lack of regional supply for super yacht berths, and global interest. The feasibility study suggests that the annual homeport super yacht market represents the primary and dominant super yacht category anticipated for the facility.

When will DP World launch construction tenders for Port Rashid Marina?

This has still to be decided. We have only just announced the project. The first phase of Mina Rashid Marina is expected in the first quarter of 2018, and will provide berthing for approximate 400 boats—both motor boats and sailing yachts—between 15 and 35 meters in length. In the second phase, berths for super yachts up to 100m and above will be available.

In what ways is DP World seeking to increase its business portfolio and investments to support the UAE's economy?

DP World is a leading enabler of global trade and an integral part of the supply chain. We operate multiple related businesses, from marine and inland terminals, maritime services, logistics, and ancillary services to technology-driven trade solutions and will continue to explore opportunities in these areas, particularly in faster-growing markets. We have a portfolio of 70 terminals in 31 countries across six continents with a significant presence in both high-growth and mature markets. We aim to be essential to the bright future of global trade, ensuring everything we do has a long-lasting positive impact on economies and society.

Global trade is facing challenging times. How do you think the sector will evolve in the next five years?

Our vision is to be a leader of global trade and our business is one for the long term—we look over the horizon. Our agreements are typically over 40 years on average given that maritime and inland container deports are national assets and pillars of economies. The drive to automation and innovation with new technologies will shape the trade and logistics sector over the next five years as operators seek greater efficiencies to differentiate themselves.

What are your prospects for 2016?

We reported 3% volume growth in 2015, handling 61.7 million TEUs across our global portfolio of container terminals. Despite the uncertain near-term macro environment, and given the high utilization of our portfolio, we remain confident about the medium- to long-term outlook of our industry and continue to invest to meet the future capacity requirements of our customers. As we look ahead into 2016, we look forward to the new capacity at Rotterdam, Mumbai, Prince Rupert (Canada), and Yarımca (Turkey) to deliver a full-year contribution to our throughput. We expect to open our third berth at London Gateway in mid-2016, adding 600,000 TEUs of new capacity. The additional 2 million TEU at terminal three Jebel Ali (UAE) will be operational in the second half of 2016. We have once again delivered ahead of market throughput growth in 2015 and given this resilient performance, we remain confident of meeting full-year market expectations. While trading conditions in 2016 are expected to remain challenging, we believe a portfolio focused on faster-growing markets and origin and destination cargo, coupled with the addition of new capacity, can continue to outperform the market.