Gulftainer, a privately owned, independent terminal operating and logistics company, recorded an impressive eight per cent growth in container volume in 2014, achieving a total of 6.4 million twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) across its global portfolio.

In a year defined by international expansion and investments in new infrastructure to enhance operational efficiency, Gulftainer recorded robust growth across its entire terminal portfolio.

Iain Rawlinson, Group Commercial Director of Gulftainer said: “The positive growth recorded by Gulftainer across its terminals globally underlines the confidence of our partners in our ability to meet their requirements efficiently. Our extensive network and technological expertise are the strengths that have enabled us to expand our footprint to new locations. We continuously invest in enhancing our infrastructure, thus boosting reliability, operational efficiency and productivity.”

He added: “The growth in volume achieved throughout our terminals is strong testament to the expertise and dedication of our employees and the strong productivity levels we are able to achieve on a consistent basis. In the dynamic global trade routes linking Asia and Europe, our terminals today play an increasingly significant role. Even as we expand and grow our business, we also remain committed to the communities we serve in by creating new jobs and supporting the domestic economy.”

In global markets, Gulftainer’s Saudi terminals recorded impressive growth with Northern Container Terminal accounting for 1.9 million TEUs, sustaining previous-year trends, while Jubail Container Terminal (JCT) noted a growth of 22 per cent to over 396,000 TEUs. The total volume at the Saudi terminals was over 2.29 million TEUs.

Gulftainer’s Umm Qasr terminal also accomplished a significant growth of 46 per cent in 2014, while the Recife terminal in Brazil marked a growth in volume of 7 per cent.

Gulftainer’s UAE terminals recorded a total volume of 3.8 million TEUs in line with the all-round growth in business. The company marked another significant milestone, with the Sharjah Container Terminal (SCT) surpassing 400,000 TEUs in annual throughput for the very first time. Operations at SCT were energised by the positive growth in global trade and the arrival of new services, such as UASC’s Gulf India Service (GIS1), which now connects Sharjah with Sohar in Oman, Mundra in India and Karachi in Pakistan. The addition of this service represented a significant development for Sharjah and boosted the national carrier’s volumes through SCT last year.

The only fully fledged operational container terminal in the UAE located outside the Strait of Hormuz, Khorfakkan Container Terminal (KCT) has today emerged as one of the most important transshipment hubs for the Arabian Gulf, the Indian Sub-continent, the Gulf of Oman and the East African markets.

Further strengthening the operations at KCT, Gulftainer has received and commissioned new state-of-the-art Ship to Shore (STS) and Rubber Tyred Gantry (RTG) cranes that will further increase overall performance and productivity. This enhanced infrastructure marks an investment of over US$60 million.

Gulftainer has set an ambitious target to triple the volume over the next decade through organic growth across existing businesses, exploring green field opportunities and potential M&A activities.


Gulftainer Company Limited eyes second US port after Canaveral

Gulftainer announced last week that it will operate Port Canaveral in Florida

Dubai: Gulftainer, the Sharjah-based shipping container terminal operator, expects to add a second terminal in the United States to its portfolio in the first quarter next year, Managing Director Peter Richards said on Tuesday.

Gulftainer, which operates terminals in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon and Brazil, announced last week that it has signed a 35 year lease for Port Canaveral, Florida, its first US terminal. It will start operations at the port, which it estimates has an annual capacity of 200,000 TEUs, or the equivalent of 200,000 20-foot-long shipping containers, from July 1.

In 2006, DP World sold terminal operations in six US ports after political and public pressure over security concerns of an Arab-state based company operating the ports.

Gulftainer’s entry in the US market has seen it be approached by “three or four entities” looking for a partnership to operate other ports in the country. Richards said by phone that some of the entities have proposed joint ventures and equity investments.

He said the next US port is likely to come in the first quarter next year along with a terminal in Africa. He declined to state specifically where. By 2020, Richards said Gulftainer could be operating as many as five terminals in the US and a string of others in South America in countries like Argentina, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.

Richards expects Port Canaveral will handle 50,000 TEUs in the first year, 100,000 TEUs in the second year and 150,000 TEUs in the third. Gulftainer believes that with $100 million (Dh367 million) of investment the port can handle 750,000 TEUS, despite the proximity of ports in Miami, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay.

“We will be as big as Miami and as big as Jacksonville in years to come,” Richards said.

Last year, Port Miami handled 876,708 TEUs and Jacksonville processed 936,973 TEUs.

“I’m vey bullish on cargo volumes,” Richards said.

Gulftainer is hopeful that a proposed rail link to Port Canaveral will be backed by the local community, which has voiced its concerns of the environmental impact of the construction.

“For us, it’s whether Canaveral wants to stay purely a regional port with the rail link or a countrywide port with the rail link,” Richards said.

“It’s very important for the port,” he also said.

Gulftainer has a clause in its contract to exit Canaveral if the rail link is not built; however, Richards said the company “is not looking at utilizing it.” Richards said the rail link could be built by 2017 or 2018.

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