Fujairah expansion on hold -sources

Terminal project postponement set to affect bunker volume growth in Fujairah.

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Updated on 06 Feb 2009 08:02 GMT

Terminal operator DP world has reportedly postponed the planned expansion of the container terminal at the UAE port of Fujairah, according to local media reports.

The decision to delay the project will be a blow to local bunker suppliers expecting bunker sales volumes to grow as a consequence of the terminal's expansion.

It also follows last month's announcement by Abu Dhabi's government-owned International Petroleum Investment Co., which said that plans for the construction of a refinery in Fujairah were in doubt and currently under review following the drop in demand for refined products around the world.

Despite the news, the Fujairah bunker market continues to be one of the largest in the world with estimated volumes at between 13 million and 15 million metric tonnes per year.

DP World was awarded the concession to manage and operate the Fujairah Container Terminal for 30 years from May 10th 2005. It currently operates a total of 48 terminals and 13 new developments in 31 countries.

Commenting on the company's plans for the future, Mohammed Sharaf, Chief Executive of DP World said last week: “Whilst we remain confident of the long-term prospects for the industry and DP World’s strong competitive positioning, the container terminal industry has reported increasingly challenging conditions during 2008, which have worsened during the fourth quarter.

"We expect these conditions to remain for the foreseeable future. With this in mind, we have implemented a strategy to focus on minimising the impact on margins and preserving cash, which includes reducing costs and taking a prudent approach to our working capital position.

“It is too early to comment with any certainty on the outcome for 2009, but we believe our proactive approach to cost reduction and our strong focus on efficiency and customer service will help to mitigate the impact on profitability.”