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Port operator DP World sees 2020 profit down 29% against virus

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – The Dubai-based port of DP World said on Thursday that its 2020 profit fell by 29% year-on-year to $ 846 million as a coronavirus epidemic froze supply chains and sank world trade flows.

The port operator, which went public in June and became fully state-owned, said it ignored analysts’ low expectations during a difficult time for global trade. The world’s largest maritime enterprise has faced various challenges: the rise of the virus, the rise of regional tensions, and the continuation of trade wars.

In its annual report, DP World says that its revenues in 2020 increased by 11% to $ 8.53 million, which is attributed to a year of achievements. DP World reported revenue of $ 7.68 billion and revenue of $ 1.19 billion in 2019. The port operator’s ouster came after its parent company, Dubai World, tried to repay more than $ 5 billion to banks.

Despite forecasts of a decline in global trade last spring, DP World said the container terminal industry has shown resilience and is key to automation և digital investment. The company has been running fast business in recent months. DP World signed a $ 4.5 billion deal with one of Canada’s largest pension fund managers last fall to expand its Asia-Pacific footprint in Europe and Asia. It has made several lucrative concessions this year to build huge ports and logistics centers in Indonesia, Senegal, Angola and Angola.

The company is also considering joint bids with an Israeli port operator for the newly privatized Israeli port of Haifa following a landmark deal between the two countries. During a news conference on Thursday, DP World President-CEO Sultan Ahmed bin Suleim told reporters that the company intends to invest in other key Israeli seaports, including the southern cities of Ashdod and Eilat.

“Israelis have good infrastructure, economic and business policies that encourage investment,” bin Sulaym said, “making European ports accessible to the Middle East (Indian subcontinent).”

DP World now operates in 61 countries with some of the busiest shipping routes in the world, from Brisbane, Australia, to East Rupert, Canada. The company has aggressively expanded its reach to the Horn of Africa, positioning the United Arab Emirates as one of the major foreign players concentrating on the strategic Red Sea. In recent years, the provocation has helped the country to have a soft power in the region by building military bases.

Bin Suleiman said he expects global trade to resume in 2021, encouraged by the lifting of blockades, the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, and the promise of a more equitable trade policy for the new US administration.

“Geopolitical issues are far less than under the Trump administration, the new administration is consulting with business partners to find a better way to resolve any issues,” he said. “It looks good this year.”

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