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GLOBAL FOOTPRINT EXPANDS

Falah Al Ahbabi

AD Ports Group exhibits resilience as revenues double

ABU DHABI, 18 days ago

AD Ports Group has seen a stellar year of intelligent internationalisation entering new markets and completing major acquisitions, even as it made a net profit of AED1.4 billion ($380 million) in 2023. 
 
The leading facilitator of global trade, logistics and industry said in its 2023 Annual Report that financial highlights for 2023 included revenue growth of 112% year-on-year to AED11.7 billion. EBITDA increased 23% YoY to AED2.67 billion and total net profit grew 6% YoY.
 
The group expanded its international footprint significantly in 2023, particularly following the integration of Noatum, a global logistics platform with a presence in 27 countries and a leader in automotive logistics services in Europe.
 
Doubling revenue
Moreover, a series of ports, terminals, maritime and shipping agreements in Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, Republic of Congo, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, supported doubling the group’s revenue and extended its global reach to 46 countries.
 
AD Ports Group’s vertically integrated businesses Clusters, including Ports, Economic Cities & Free Zones, Maritime & Shipping, Logistics, and Digital, have enabled the group to become one of the fastest-growing enablers of trade, industry and logistics, whose integrated synergistic businesses are dedicated to leading the future of global trade with innovative, end-to-end supply chain solutions, world-class infrastructure, and smart new routes for a changing world.
 
Falah Al Ahbabi, Chairman of AD Ports Group, said: “Through bold, value enhancing acquisitions, and strategic expansions in the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Caspian Sea, Africa, and around the world, AD Ports Group in 2023 transformed into a world-class facilitator of global trade and logistics, in line with the economic diversification objectives set by the UAE’s visionary leadership. In a year of rising global market uncertainty, the group’s record revenue and profits underlined, once again, its resilience and core strength, as well as its value to shareholders.” 
 
Dynamic period
Capt Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Managing Director and Group CEO, AD Ports Group, said: “2023 was one of the most dynamic periods of growth in the history of AD Ports Group. We expanded our maritime, shipping and ports footprint into Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, the Republic of the Congo, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, and in addition we transformed our logistics business by acquiring Noatum, an integrated provider active in 27 countries and a leading in the automotive logistics sector in Europe.”
 
He added: “Moving forward into 2024, we plan to continue in delivering value to our customers, shareholders and the communities we serve. With the guidance of the UAE’s wise leadership, our strategic focus will be to leverage our cutting-edge infrastructure and advanced fleet, for further dynamic growth both regionally and internationally.”
 
Strategic direction
The group's growth strategy is underscored by a prudent and risk-aware approach, leveraging its stable revenue streams and favourable macroeconomic conditions to drive expansion. This multifaceted strategy combines the operational enhancement of current assets with strategic mergers and acquisitions both within the domestic market and internationally. 
 
Central to this strategy is the group’s aim to strengthen its presence in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, whilst pursuing targeted growth in the regional market, and establish a significant global footprint in the logistics and trade services sector.
 
Its inorganic growth strategy focuses on strategic investments to proactively pursue opportunistic complementary, synergetic, and value-added investments in logistics, maritime & shipping, and port assets. This will drive enhanced customer relationships, expand the group’s logistics network, and bolster its Abu Dhabi-based operations, ensuring these opportunities align with its criteria of scale, management quality, and financial attractiveness. 
 
With this strategy supported by robust financial foundation and a portfolio of high-quality assets, the group is well-positioned for resilient growth across varying economic and industry cycles.
 
Market overview
The global shipping industry experienced a year of mixed fortunes in 2023, with a return to normalised shipping rates across various segments, despite uneven supply-demand dynamics. While the tanker, offshore, bulk, and Ro-Ro segments enjoyed a positive year, bolstered by China's reopening and a 3% increase in global trade volumes, the container market faced challenges, with rates softening due to a gradual regularisation of supply chains post-Covid-19 and an increase in vessel fleet supply. 
 
Despite these disparities, the industry on average remained 33% above its 10-year trend, with energy shipping and the offshore segment experiencing strong performance - Ro-Ro rates hit all-time highs and bulkers recovered in the fourth quarter. The container segment, however, saw better performance in trade lanes related to AD Ports Group, while main East-West routes were deeply affected.
 
Looking ahead, the shipping and logistics sectors are set to continue evolving in response to the post-pandemic shift from "just-in-time" to "just-in-case" strategies, driven by new trade and investment policies, national security considerations, and the move towards regionalisation and localisation of supply chains. This shift, alongside the rapid digitalisation of the logistics sector, is expected to improve trade efficiency and future-proof supply chains. AD Ports Group, with its diversified port-centric logistics footprint, is well-positioned to capitalise on these trends, offering strong support for the re- and nearshoring of supply chains through its global assets. 
 
The recent Red Sea disruptions are anticipated to further impact volumes and rates in 2024, highlighting the importance of regional feeder services and the strategic positioning of AD Ports Group in navigating the challenges and opportunities in today’s volatile market.
 
AD Ports Group annual report details some of the major achievements, as well as acquisitions and agreements signed in 2023, that have extended the group’s global reach. 
 
The year began with the inauguration of the Aqaba Cruise Terminal, the first-of-its-kind facility in Jordan and concluded with the signing of a definitive 30-year concession agreement with the Red Sea Ports Authority (“RSPA”) for the development and operation of a multi-purpose terminal at Safaga Sea Port, a strategic location on the Red Sea coast of Egypt.
 
A key milestone in the group’s international expansion strategy was the landmark 100% acquisition of Noatum, a global integrated logistics services provider with presence across all major global markets and trade lanes.
 
Africa strategy
As part of the group’s Africa Strategy and commitment to strategic development within emerging markets, it signed a 30-year extendable concession agreement to manage and operate a multipurpose terminal in Congo’s Pointe Noire Port.
 
AD Ports Group’s focus on replicating the company’s integrated business model in regions that offer long-term and sustainable growth prospects, was reflected in the signing of a 50-Year concession agreement with Karachi Port Trust for the development of a state-of-the-art container terminal. This is aimed at driving growth, promote trade diversification, and strengthen bilateral ties between the UAE and Pakistan.
Additionally, in response to the growing demands of the global offshore oil and gas market, 10 vessels were purchased that will bolster offshore operations in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The year also saw a significant collaboration with Kazakhstan's national shipping company, KazMorTransFlot (KMTF), leading to the acquisition of two advanced vessels for transporting Kazakhstan's oil across the Caspian Sea. Today, the group operates over 250 vessels across all service lines.--TradeArabia News Service
 



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