TOC Middle East Conference to analyze shifts in regional container trades and implications for ports

London, 27.10.15 – Healthy container volume growth from Europe into the Middle East and South Asia will be debated at TOC Middle East, to be held on 8-9 December 2015 at the Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Dubai, UAE.

The ability of Middle East and South Asia economies to generate demand in their own right is evident from container trade figures for the first eight months of 2015.
According to Drewry Maritime Research, eastbound Europe to Middle East/South Asia trade has significantly outperformed traffic in the opposite direction.

After eight months, Europe to South Asia volumes were up 5.6% to 825,000 TEU. In the bigger Europe to Middle East trade, growth has been even more impressive at 9.4% giving year-to-date volumes of 1.56 million TEU.

Conversely, westbound traffic has been much less flourishing. Middle East to Europe volumes were up by only 1.6% after eight months to 475,000 TEU, while South Asia to Europe volumes fell back by 3.5% to 1.11 million TEU.

Drewry goes on to say that the rolling 12 month average of container traffic on this route illustrates how sizable the gap between the two lanes has become. As of August, the eastbound trade was up by 10.7% year-on-year, leaving westbound traffic languishing in negative growth at -0.9%. While eastbound growth may have plateaued, it is still far healthier than the westbound lane.

Port investment
Such healthy traffic on eastbound routes highlights the need for sufficient – and efficient – port capacity in the region.

Recently, India announced that it is to shelve plans to privatize its major container ports which Drewry suggests could lead to a shake-up of container port options in the region over the medium term. The government has based the decision on improved port performance that has, in its view, negated the need for a mass sell-off.

Instead, India will change existing laws governing ports to make them more profitable and efficient. Private ports in India have been winning volumes from major public ports on the back of ongoing labour disputes, bureaucracy and inefficiencies at the latter. If the Indian government can deliver on its pledge to reduce these trade impediments significantly, carriers may be tempted to switch allegiances in Indian ports.

In the Middle East Gulf, the major hubs at Dubai’s Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Port should be joined next year by the new Hamad port, in Qatar, which has received the first four of 12 ship-to-shore gantry cranes.

TOC Middle East will assess the sustainability of container demand generated in the Middle East/South Asia theatre, shipping lines strategies and related port developments.

High level speakers
Conference organiser TOC Events is delighted to confirm that three key port executives in this important region will deliver keynote addresses to open this year’s conference: Mohammed Al Muallem, SVP & Managing Director – UAE Region, DP World; H.E. Musaed Bin Al-Drees, Director General, Saudi Ports Authority; and Mr.Martijn Van de Linde, CEO, Abu Dhabi Terminals. In addition to the keynotes, the rest of the region’s most strategic ports, terminal operators and canal authorities are represented including King Abdullah Port, Suez Canal Authority, SOHAR Port & Freezone, Bandar Abbas Port Authority, YILPORT, Milaha and APM Terminals.

An enticing agenda and speaker line-up is ready to walk delegates through the most critical issues in the regional maritime space, including the Outlook for the Middle East Shipping & Port Sector, the Re-emergence of Iran into International Maritime Networks, Connectivity between the Middle East and Emerging Markets in South Asia and Africa, and Port Security.

To see the full agenda, please visit
TOC Middle East promises two whole days of high level executive briefings, with first class networking opportunities for industry peers to meet and do business.

The event’s new venue is Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, a hidden haven that enjoys an idyllic verdant setting in a city location, yet just a few minutes from Dubai International Airport.

TOC Middle East 2015
8-9 December
Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre
Dubai, UAE