The UAE will continue to dominate the Gulf region's shipping sector as it continues to invest heavily in its facilities. Not only has the massive Khalifa Port had a hugely successful opening in 2012, and handled 1mn containers in 2013, but the established behemoth, Jebel Ali, has announced plans for a new container terminal, helping it to keep ahead from the growing competition in the region. Even the smaller Sharjah terminals are performing well, with record growth in recent years. As such we project continued strong growth at the facilities, especially as the global economy looks set to continue its resurgence from the doldrums in 2014.
Headline Industry Data
Sharjah Terminals container throughput (KCT and SCT) is forecast to grow by 5.6% in 2014, averaging 4.8% over the medium term.
Jebel Ali container throughput is forecast to grow by 3.0% in 2014. Through to 2018, we expect growth to average 3.8%.
Port Khalifa's box throughput will expand by 20.8% to 1.09mn TEUs. Growth will remain strong, averaging 17.1% to 2018.
Total trade real growth is forecast at 7.2% in 2014 and to average 5.3% through to 2018.
Key Industry Trends
Jebel Ali Port Shipping Volumes From Iran Record Fall: The Jebel Ali Port in the UAE registered a fall of 300,000 standard container units in shipping volumes from Iran in 2013, according to the port's operator DP World, largely as a result of the sanctions placed upon Iran by the West. In 2013, the port handled 13.6mn standard container units. Meanwhile, it intends to expand its capacity to 19mn standard container units by the end of 2014. The easing of sanctions provides upside potential for throughput at Jebel Ali, given how much re-export the facility traditionally carries out for Iran.
Should tensions between Israel and Iran escalate to any significant degree in 2014, thereby leading to a conflict in the Gulf, then our forecasts for UAE would be seriously jeopardised. On the flipside, growing rapprochement...