Everywhere you look companies are struggling with poor rates of growth – GDP growth is flat, trade growth is flat, retails sales are flat – and port operators really do seem to have entered a new paradigm. DP World saw box volumes rise just 2.2% across its 77 terminals around the world – most worrying must surely have been the 6.7% year-on-year decline at its flagship Jebel Ali terminals in Dubai, which it ascribed to a decline in lower-margin transhipment cargo. Is anything not lower-margin these days?

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