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DP World struck a more optimistic tone this week as it announced its latest results, with full-year container volumes growing 1.9% year on year.

In October, the terminal operator warned of a deceleration in the market bearing responsibility for a third-quarter year-on-year decline of 1.4%.

But with full-year volumes up, not to mention a marginal decline of 0.1% in Q4, chief executive Ahmed Bin Sulayem appeared optimistic for the year ahead.

“We are pleased to see that our global portfolio has delivered growth on top of our strong prior year performance, and despite the uncertainty with global trade,” he said.

“Our Europe and Americas portfolio saw strong growth with continued ramp-up in the UK, Turkey and Canada, while performance in Africa remains robust.”

Full-year volumes were up just 0.4% for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Mr Bin Sulayem highlighted Dakar and Sokhna as strong African regions.

But its Q4 numbers for the region were the group’s worst, down 3.5%, with the UAE the biggest loser, down 4.6% in Q4 and 2.7% for the year.

Mr Bin Sulayem said: “UAE softer volumes were due to the loss of low-margin throughput, where we remain focused on high-margin cargo and maintaining profitability.”

Americas and Australia was flat in Q4, with full-year volumes up 1.9%, leaving Asia Pacific and the Indian subcontinent its strongest,group, up 3% for the quarter and 3.1% for the year.

Total group volumes for the 12-month period hit 71m tonnes.

“We made good progress in strengthening our offering, which will enable us to participate in a wider part of the supply chain and offer smarter long-term solutions,” said Mr Bin Sulayem. “Looking ahead to 2019, we expect to continue to deliver growth and our focus remains on delivering operational excellence, managing costs and disciplined investment.

“Given the steady volume performance of our portfolio, we are well placed to meet market expectations.”

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