Emirates Shipping Line ready to double capacity
Dubai registered Emirates Shipping Line is planning to double its container capacity within the next two years to capitalize on 30 percent business growth since starting operations in 2006, said Senior Vice-President Mohamed El Alfy in an interview with Emirates Business.
Emirates ranks 37th in the world in terms of fleet capacity, operating 12 chartered ships with a combined 28,000 TEUs, according to AXS-Alphaliner.
El Alfy, who joined Emirates in February 2007 and oversees the Middle East, Africa and Mediterranean regions, said the company's strong volume gains last year were achieved by its commitment to high growth regions.
“The Asia to Europe trade was a big driver in 2007. This was primarily driven by a surge in exports from China to Europe, though several other countries in Asia also contributed to this upswing. The other key driver was the strong euro currency, which encouraged imports as well as the fast developing economies of Russia and Eastern Europe,” he said.
“We see the trend continuing in 2008 and beyond, especially as China continues to post strong demand. Emirates Shipping Line will continue to strategically position its global services to China, the Indian Subcontinent, the Middle East and other key areas of the world.”
The Emirates executive foresees continued strong growth of cargo in 2008. “A large ship supply is expected to enter the market in 2008, yet we believe that cargo will grow more or less greater than the ship supply resulting in stable rates of ships.”
El Alfy added that the Middle East shipping industry and non-U.S. trades should escape relatively unharmed from any downturn in the U.S. economy or subprime fallout.
“Under the concept of globalization, all economies of the world are interconnected. The recent economic downturn in the U.S. has impacted business sectors specifically those that have a direct impact with U.S. inbound and outbound cargo. As cargo shipments to and from U.S. have been reduced, it is reasonable to expect ship owners will shift some tonnage to non-U.S. trades.
“This may impact the supply situation of other trade lanes. However, the economic growth within the intra-Asia countries continues to be strong, which could outweigh the effects of the U.S. slowdown. China, India and other major economies continue to show increased independence with GDP forecasts still aggressive.
“These economic forces are unlikely to create a downturn. World trade continues to be strong; the incredible demand from China in particular will continue.”