The current geopolitical crises in different parts of the world are hitting global trade, according to Mahmood Al Bastaki, chief operating officer of DP World.
“Sudan has a problem, Algeria has a problem and in Latin America, Venezuela has a problem. These things affect trading hubs, supply chains and goods movement,” Al Bastaki said at Global Business Forum Latin America in Panama City.
“All these war countries when they are in crisis they will not get into consuming and spending and it will affect the world trade,” he said.
Venezuela is mired in a political crisis that has seen its economy all but disintegrate, whereas protests broke out in Algeria and Sudan calling for a change in leadership.
We being in the business of port terminal operator we don’t carry much cargo because there is no demand. So political stability plays a big role,” Al Bastaki added.
Latin America, however, is a bright spark (despite Venezuela) and DP World is anticipating solid growth in the region.
“Brazil was always the main player because of the size and due to manufacturing and exporting capabilities and there’s been little bit slowdown and it is bound to grow because of the population increase. There is a big opportunity for Latin Americans to leverage all over the world,” said Al Bastaki.
DP World is therefore focusing on boosting its presence in the region, he said.
“We as DP World don’t come just as an infrastructure player only putting cranes, making yards and deepening water,” he told delegates. “We also want to link the city to the rest of the world. How can I make more trade flow to the ports? That’s the value of DP World.
“We are in eighty ports covering six continents. We have the knowhow and knowledge of trade routes and what can move people. Port is playing a big role in attracting businesses.”
DP World is in several Latin American countries and has plans to expand further, he added.
“We are in Peru, in Dominican Republic, Argentina, Brazil and in Chile. In the pipeline there are more than five or seven ports which you might be hearing from us in the next one year. They are currently under negotiation. We do a long term concession agreement for port management.”
He also said Latin America contributes substantial revenue to the company but did not give a figure.