News that Abu Dhabi's mega-port of Khalifa has handled 1mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in its first year of operation has led us to revise up our forecasts for container throughput at the port in 2013 and over the medium term (2014-2018).
Khalifa Port has handled 1mn TEUs in its first year of operation. It also set a record for the number of containers handled in a single month - 100,000TEUs in October 2013. The USD2.18bn port was constructed by Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) and is operated by Abu Dhabi Terminals (ADT). Abu Dhabi's newest port began commercial operations at the end of 2012 after all container traffic was transferred from the city-centre port of Mina Zayed.
Khalifa Port currently has the capacity to handle 2.5mn TEUs per annum using six super post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes, 30 automated stacking cranes and 20 straddle carriers. It can also handle the world's largest container ship size of 18,000TEUs.
At the end of 2012 Abu Dhabi transferred all container operations from the port of Mina Zayed to the newer and larger port of Khalifa. Mina Zayed has been serving Abu Dhabi for more than 40 years, but the port had approached its maximum capacity with no space to expand. BMI highlights that the trend of mega-vessels in the maritime sector also rendered Zayed obsolete, as the port's cranes are not wide enough, and its waters not deep enough, to handle the largest container vessels afloat.
|Port Khalifa Throughput, TEUs|
Khalifa Port, however, can meet all of these requirements. The draught of the port is deep enough to allow ships to expand further, while the six ship-to-shore cranes installed at the facility, among the largest in the world, were designed to allow further growth of container ships without being made redundant.
The announcement of throughput volumes at Khalifa Port and the consistent strong demand for containerised goods in Abu Dhabi led BMI to revise up our container throughput forecasts for the Abu Dhabi port for 2013 and in 2014 last quarter. We originally projected a throughput level of 932,022TEUs for 2013; however, as Khalifa surpassed 1mn TEUs before the end of 2013, we upgraded our estimate to 1.06mn TEUs for the full year. The port will benefit not only from projected economic growth in the Emirates - 3.4% - but also the growth of the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD) which is being developed alongside the maritime facility. As more companies relocate to KIZAD, so their demands upon Port Khalifa will grow, leading to strong container throughput growth.
In 2014 we forecast that the port will see continued strong growth in its container handling, projecting 20.8% growth to 1.28mn TEUs.