By ADAM SCHRECK, Associated Press
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dubai-based port operator DP World on Wednesday said business at its docks rose 7.5 percent in the first half of the year, driven by strong gains in emerging markets.
The world's third-largest seaport operator reported lifting the equivalent of 28.2 million standard 20-foot shipping containers in the first six months of 2012. That's up from 26.2 million containers during the same period last year.
Executives predicted their own growth should outpace that of the broader port industry this year, and said they are committed to improving on last year's financial performance. But they were cautious about the health of the overall economy, which appears to be struggling in many parts of the world.
"We're not seeing the double-digit (growth) numbers we've seen before," Chief Financial Officer Yuvraj Narayan told reporters about the effect of the global economy. "There is some impact because of the slowdown in terms of growth."
Chief Executive Mohammed Sharaf said economic uncertainty seen in the first three months of the year remains "and if anything, has increased through the second quarter."
DP World's broad geographic footprint allows it to keep an eye on trade flows around the world, particularly in fast-growing emerging markets. The company manages more than 60 sea cargo terminals on six continents, including the Middle East's busiest in Dubai.
Much of its volume growth came from ports in Asia's developing economies. Its Asia Pacific and Indian Subcontinent division posted gains of just over 12 percent to the equivalent of 13.3 million shipping containers.
The slowdown in Europe, where leaders are scrambling to contain the eurozone financial crisis, dragged down growth in DP World's Europe, Middle East and Africa division. That unit as a whole posted volume gains of just 3.2 percent, even though trade at the company's flagship Jebel Ali port in Dubai grew 7.3 percent.
DP World expects to release its first-half financial results on Aug. 29.
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