DP World yesterday signed two major construction contracts for its US$1.6 billion futuristic fourth terminal at Jebel Ali port.
The Dubai company, which is one of the largest ports operators in the world, awarded the contracts to Dutco Balfour Beatty and BAM International Abu Dhabi for the new terminal that will be built on a reclaimed island north of terminal 2.
Under the terms of the deals, Dutco Balfour Beatty will build the terminal’s main operation yard including a 1,200-metre long quay designed to accommodate the largest mega container vessels.
Meanwhile BAM will build a 400-metre bridge as well as a 2.2-kilometre, 18-metre deep quay wall. And the engineering company CH2M Hill (Halcrow) will deliver the civil works on the reclaimed island.
The first phase is expected to be ready by 2018.
DP World did not reveal the value of the construction contracts it had awarded.
“This terminal is the big idea that will change the way ports work in the future. We will deploy the latest technology in equipping our quays and yards, and run them with the most sophisticated terminal operation systems,” said Sultan bin Sulayem, the DP World chairman and chief executive.
“We have a long track record of investing proactively to expand capacity at our operations to meet changing customer needs. We are building terminal 4 from the ground up, which enables us to future-proof it for smart container ships emerging in the future.”
By next year, DP World said the new terminal would include 13 of the world’s largest and most modern giant quay cranes, operated by remote control and another 35 smaller gantry cranes.
According to DP World, the first phase of construction alone would enable terminal 4 to handle 3.1 million giant shipping containers or TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), taking Jebel Ali Port’s total capacity to 22.1 million TEU by 2018.
By that time DP World predicted that Jebel Ali would be equipped with at least 110 cranes with a total quay length of about 11,000 metres.
A second phase of expansion, set for an unspecified future date, will involve Dutco Balfour Beatty building an additional operation yard with a 1,000-metre long quay at the terminal.
When that is finally completed – something DP World said would only go ahead “in line with market demand” – terminal 4 would be able to handle a total of 7.8 million TEU.
The decision to press ahead with construction at terminal 4 comes despite the fact that this month DP World reported a fall in volumes at its UAE facilities during the fourth quarter of 2015.
Consolidated volumes at the company’s UAE facilities, dominated by Jebel Ali Port, fell 2.9 per cent year-on-year to 3.7 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) in the three months to the end of December.
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