DP World is one of the essential port operators worldwide and recently entered the Angolan market. Can you provide an overview of the history of the company?
In 1972, DP World began with a single port, Port Rashid in Dubai in the UAE. Then in 1979, Jebel Ali port was opened, which today contributes 23.8% to Dubai's GDP. Jebel Ali Port is our flagship port, and it's entirely paperless, where everything is done digitally. That is the type of technology that we seek to transfer to our other ports. By 2004, DP World initiated its global expansion, and secured a concession to operate the South Container Terminal at Jeddah Islamic Port for 20 years, which has since been further extended. Today, DP World is a leading global provider of smart end-to-end logistics solutions, enabling the flow of trade across the globe. Our comprehensive range of products and services covers every link of the integrated supply chain, from maritime and inland terminals, to marine services and industrial parks, as well as technology drive solutions. We deliver these services through an interconnected global network of 181 business units in 64 countries across six continents, with a significant presence in high growth and mature markets. We have been in Africa for 20 years, and operate ports and terminals in Egypt, Senegal, Somaliland, Algeria, Rwanda, Mozambique and since 1 March this year, in Angola. We employ more than 6,000 staff across the region.
DP World was awarded a 20-year concession for Luanda Port and expects to increase the port capacity by 700,000TEUs per year. What is the importance of this port for your global operations?
The Multipurpose Terminal at the Port of Luanda, is the first terminal we are managing and operating along the south west coast of Africa. The Port of Luanda is strategically located for all vessels navigating along the west coast of Africa. In addition, Angola can become the gateway for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Angola has an ambitious plan for its logistics infrastructure to support economic growth and development. As DP World, our primary objective is to support this plan by developing and modernizing the terminal into a world class, efficient facility to grow trade. This terminal can be a catalyst that triggers the growth of the regional economy.
Do you expect the port to serve as a hub for South West Africa?
The Multipurpose Terminal which we are operating has the potential, that is certain. Firstly, we need to free that potential. The terminal first has to demonstrate its capacity to handle larger vessels and store more TEUs (20-foot container equivalents). We are constantly training and developing our people to achieve these goals. As a company, our work here is just starting. Nevertheless, the priority is to modernize the terminal and create an ecosystem of efficiency across DP World Luanda. We also work alongside the authorities to increase the competitiveness of the terminal.
DP World has started its first big project in the sub-Saharan African region. Is this part of its global strategy toward larger participation in the ports of South West Africa?
Our presence in Angola enables us to be in touch with all the other projects that the Angolan government wants to develop. It is seeking partners with experience, such as DP World. Our ambition is to continue to grow, and we welcome any opportunities here or in the region. I'm in regular communication with the government and the different market participants, who also have a presence in the DRC or Zambia. That gives us the possibility of exploring other options to add value to trade.
Many projects are being developed in the infrastructure sector in Angola. How can DP World contribute to the development and achievement of such plans?
We commend the efforts of the Angolan government to welcome investors and give opportunities to companies to come and do business here. That is a great move to promote the growth of the sector and the economy. We will invest USD190 million to modernize the multipurpose terminal in the initial phase. A big part of that investment is already committed, and a large part is disbursed. I believe our investment shows our optimism in the country's capacity to become a strategic trade hub in the region.
How do you plan to achieve the training objectives for the local staff to adapt to the most innovative techniques at DP World?
We have introduced organization-wide training and development for our staff. For example, we have implemented our new terminal operating system, called Zodiac, for which we provide constant training to our staff, which ensures we run our operation efficiently and smoothly. Additionally, we have implemented our Grow program, where we recruit local young university graduates to work for us for 18 months. This year, we selected ten graduates, who have already joined the company and working in various areas of the terminal. We are also working to increase the number of women among our employees, in what is traditionally a male-dominated sector, especially on the operational side. Ninety eight percent of our 760 employees, are Angolan, with only six or seven from abroad.
In a nutshell, what are your goals for 2022?
We aim to start our program of civil works. Our plan includes acquiring 10 RTGs (Rubber Tyred Gantry crane). These are cranes that no one else is operating in Angola. We will also receive a crane that is one of the largest capacity in the market. We have seen our productivity increase significantly over the past seven months. For example, recently, we handled a client's cargo and clocked 46 cargo moves per hour, which is a new record. That is a significant, as it shows our staff are committed to providing the best customer service. We have the most productive container terminal in the country, and we have only been operating here for seven months. Our potential here is huge.