As countries and regions continue to prepare for the advent of the emerging new global economy, the city of London in the United Kingdom is looking forward to being in a strong competitive position, following the completion of one of the best and most-modernized ports in the world. The UAE’s DP World has done a great job in constructing the massive London Gateway so far and is on schedule to open by the end of 2013. Their £1.5 billion investment into the creation of the deep-water, high-tech port is expected to bring London back to it’s former glory days, as a leading world shipping port destination.
The London Gateway is modeled after DP World’s flagship state-of-the-art facility in Jebel Ali in the UAE, which is currently ranked as one of the top ten ports in the world. London’s leaders are hoping that they will enjoy the same measure of success in years to come, once their new super-port is open for business. It is expected that the London Gateway will support at least 12,000 jobs when finally open and that number could indeed grow as the port realizes it’s full potential. To date, the construction of the port has generated many thousands of jobs for the city and region already, and has provided a tremendous lift to the local economy.
Recently, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was in the UAE to meet with leading officials. While visitng he took a closer look at the port of Jebel Ali facilities and indicated that he was quite impressed by the modern, efficient structure.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to show the Mayor of London our flagship facility. Jebel Ali port together with the free zone have both supported and driven the growth of Dubai and the UAE over the past four decades. We have modeled DP World’s London Gateway on Jebel Ali, knowing that a modern deep-water port and logistics park within the important London and South East market will bring direct benefits to the wider UK economy.”- DP World Chairman.
Officials are looking forward to the London Gateway being a catalyst for further inward investment into the UK. By bringing the world’s largest ships to the capital, which is Europe’s largest economic zone, it is hoped that the sizable investment will ensure London is once again globally connected to the major trading ports of the world. In doing so, this will make London and the wider UK, more competitive for global imports and exports, reduce costs and eliminate millions of unnecessary road miles from global supply chains.
In recent years, an increasing number of wealthy Gulf sovereign wealth funds and state-owned companies, have been purchasing iconic buildings across London and investing millions of dollars in key infrastructure projects, such as DP World’s port project that will revitalize the city’s shipping industry. At the moment, investors in Qatar own (or have a sizable stake in) The Shard, Harrod’s department store, Chelsea Barracks, One Hyde Park, the Olympic Village as well as the building housing the American Embassy in London. Furthermore, Abu Dhabi owns numerous venues within the Olympic Village and has built a clean energy facility that generates electricity for approximately 20 percent of London’s households.
“When you look at the opportunities in London, there are 18 huge opportunity areas … ripe for development; believe me there’s plenty of room for investors, not just from the Middle East but from around the world.”- Mayor of London.
The Mayor of London, who is hoping to encourage even more investment from the region, recently revealed that London is interested in linking DP World’s port to a (yet-to-be-announced) new airport and that the City has already entered into discussions with organizations to facilitate the project; including Abu Dhabi-owned developer Mubadala and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Motivated by the need to accommodate future growth and development, London’s population is estimated to grow by another 1 million people by 2021 and that is expected to put huge pressure on the housing market and transport infrastructure. This means that encouraging investor confidence and introducing new investment opportunities in the region is not only extremely important to rebuilding the economy, but also to sustaining growth over the next decade; as well.
In Ireland, ninety-five percent of the country’s goods are shipped through their nineteen shipping ports. As such, government officials have recognized the urgency to put the best plans in place now, in order to capitalize on the opportunities that are emerging in the shipping industry. In fact, recently the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, announced plans that will overhaul the nation’s shipping ports; giving the government a bigger role to play in the sector.
“Our commercial ports are vital to our economic recovery and to future economic growth. They are the gateways for most of our merchandise trade, and for significant numbers of tourists and passengers … As an island nation we depend on our ports to an even greater degree than many of our trading partners. Hence the need to get the policy right.”- Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
The government’s new port policy will see at least four major areas of reform with hints of more extensive changes to come in the near future, as Ireland’s government officials are expecting greater returns; from their investments in the port sector. The new policy is aimed at maximizing the most potential of each and every one of the country’s ports, including that each of the profitable ports will pay dividends. Up until just recently, the only port in Ireland that was paying a dividend was Dublin Port.
Although Ireland’s ports saw an increase in export traffic in 2012, of sixteen percent above the mark of the pre-crisis level, it is important that government officials get the country’s shipping ports upgraded and modernized, in order to become/remain competitive; now and in the future. To swiftly address this growing concern, the National Ports Policy will work to foster the most competitive and effective market conditions, for maritime transport services in the region.