Ramesh Shivakumaran: Gulftainer surpasses 400,000 TEU milestones at Sharjah Container Terminal in 2014
Gulftainer, a privately owned, independent terminal operating and logistics company, marked another significant milestone with the Sharjah Container Terminal (SCT) surpassing 400,000 TEUs (Twenty Foot Equivalent Units) in annual throughput during 2014. SCT has again recorded double-digit growth compared to last year’s volumes. The achievement was reached with an impressive safety record under challenging conditions including space constraints.
Iain Rawlinson, Group Commercial Director of Gulftainer said that the professional approach of Gulftainer’s management, along with consistently high productivity levels, was a driving force behind the Terminal’s success. “SCT has always marketed itself as ‘The Flexible Alternative’ and the individual attention we extend to our customers offers us an advantage over competitors.”
The 400,000th unit was discharged from Mag Container Lines’ vessel, ‘Mag Success’, one of the Terminal’s regular callers, which considers Sharjah as her base port. Speaking on behalf of Mag Line’s CEO, BDM Jamal Saleh congratulated the Terminal for its achievement.
He said: “The announcement today reflects how Gulftainer and MCL have grown together over the years and, in partnership, managed to reach this target. The continuous support, flexibility and excellent operational performance MCL receives from Gulftainer, both operationally and logistically, has contributed greatly to this achievement.”
The milestone was achieved on the shift of Duty Superintendent Mehmood Malik, the longest serving employee at over 38 years at the Terminal and part of the team when the first TEU crossed the quay. Mehmood has witnessed several records and milestones and recalls handling 2,500 TEUs in 1976: “At that time we could not imagine reaching the levels of throughput we have today, so this is a very special moment for me.”
SCT, which is managed and operated by Gulftainer on behalf of the Sharjah Port Authority, has the honour of being the site of the first container terminal in the Gulf, commenced operations in 1976. SCT is located in the heart of Sharjah and is an ideal gateway for import and export cargo with direct links throughout the Gulf, Asia, Europe, Americas and Africa.
The strong performance of the Sharjah economy has supported the growth of many of SCT’s customers, enabling them to increase their throughput and contribute to a record year for the Terminal.
The relationships built with our customers have been strengthened by the joint efforts of Gulftainer’s sales and marketing team and the high levels of service and operational efficiency at the terminal, “When looking at the Sharjah market, the dedicated team at SCT listen to and address the many requirements of our diverse and interesting customer base,” said Iain Rawlinson.
SCT’s figures have been further boosted with the arrival of new services throughout the year, including UASC’s Gulf India Service (GIS1), which now connects Sharjah with Sohar in Oman, Mundra in India and Karachi in Pakistan, which has boosted in the national carrier’s volumes through SCT in November and December.
Gulftainer’s current portfolio covers UAE operations in Khorfakkan Port and Port Khalid in Sharjah as well as activities at Umm Qasr in Iraq, Recife in Brazil, Jeddah and Jubail in Saudi Arabia and in Tripoli Port in Lebanon, which will be operational in April 2016. It also marked another milestone in 2014 with its expansion to the US by signing a long-term agreement to operate the container and multi-cargo terminal at Port Canaveral in Florida.
With a current handling activity of over 6 million TEUs, the company has set an ambitious target to triple the volume over the next decade through organic growth across existing businesses, exploring green field opportunities and potential M&A activities.