DP World’s automated Jebel Ali terminal services first ship

DP World’s automated Jebel Ali terminal services first ship

DP World Terminal 3

Photo courtesy of DP World

DP World's newest Jebel Ali terminal received its first vessel call today, paving the way for the automated terminal to become fully operational next year.

The APL Phoenix arrived in DP's prized Container Terminal 3, an $850 million project that the terminal operator says will be the world's largest semi-automated facility. The container terminal will most likely open to full scale operations in 2015, and could push the port higher up on the list of the world's top container ports by adding 4 million TEUs in capacity.

The terminal has an 18-meter (54-foot) draft, and DP World says its infrastructure allows for the handling of as many as 10 vessels at the same time. The terminal features 19 quay cranes, operated remotely from a control room filled with crew that also operate the 50 automated rail-mounted gantry cranes.

"As the world's biggest semi-automated facility, Terminal 3 is well-equipped to provide our ships with optimal and sustainable service efficiency and reliability," APL President Kenneth Glenn said in a news release. "This is a key success factor for the container liner business."

DP World's Jebel Ali terminal was ranked 10th in JOC's 2013 Port Productivity report, tied with Khorfakken Container Terminal in Khor al Fakken with 119 container moves per ship, per hour. The two container terminals tied for first in the regional list, which included terminals in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

"Automation and new technology are part of the future helping our customers and the wider supply chain realise the efficiencies on land that the new mega-ships generate at sea," DP World COO Mohammed Ali Ahmed said in a news release.

Jebel Ali was ranked ninth on the Top 50 World Container Ports list, posting 2.7 percent growth and handling 13.6 million TEUs in 2013. This year, the port has reported year-to-date volume growth of 14.1 percent. DP World, which reports its traffic quarterly, reported handling 3.6 million TEUs in the first quarter, 17.5 percent higher than the first quarter of 2013, and an additional 3.8 million in the second quarter, 11 percent higher year-over-year. Third quarter statistics have not been released.

Jebel Ali volume chart

Contact Corianne Egan at cegan@joc.com and follow her on Twitter: @CEgan_JOC.