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Top 10: Logistics Middle East's global port challenge

by Jon Cuthbert on Feb 20, 2012

If our regional ports were to have a showdown with the best of “the rest” who would win? Logistics Middle East looks at how our local shipping ports stack up.


Jebel Ali

We start off this challenge with the UAE’s and Middle East’s number one shipping port Jebel Ali. The port, the largest container port between the ‘west and east’ (Rotterdam and Singapore), was ranked inside the top 10 in 2010 for the largest container port’s in the world, carrying off 9th spot overall.

Covering over 134 square kilometres, Jebel Ali is a massive port and the biggest man-made harbour in the world. Capable of handling any Emma class vessels, Jebel Ali also has a reputation for handling the big ships.

In June 2011, global marine terminal operator DP World simultaneously handled two mega container vessels with ease. The ships, owned by Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) measured 366 metres each.

With nominal capacities ranging between 12,500 and 14,000 TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Units), Jebel Ali proved its capacity in handling the new generation of mega container vessels.

But if handling the biggest ships in the world is not enough, then the fact that Jebel Ali is home to the world’s largest gantry cranes, capable of lifting four 20 foot containers or two 40 foot containers simultaneously, demonstrates this port’s ability to mix it with the best. Lifting a total capacity of 80 tonnes, twice that of traditional cranes, Jebel Ali likes to claim the title to the biggest and best.

Los Angeles

Not to be outdone, Los Angeles from the west coast of the USA puts on its gloves on for the showdown. Also known as “Worldport”, the City of Angles is the busiest port in the US by container volume and the 16th busiest container port in the world.

Occupying nearly 3000 hectares along 69 kilometres of coastline, 2010 figures from the port showed it handled 7.8 million twenty-foot equivalent units. With an exceptional credit record, the port maintains an Aa2 bond rating, the highest assigned to any seaport in the United States, operating without the benefit of taxpayer support.

The Port also leverages huge economic power, generating employment for more than 3.3 million Americans nationwide. In California alone, nearly 1 million jobs are related to trade though the Port of Los Angeles.


The Logistics Middle East verdict:

With a higher world ranking, Jebel Ali at 9th takes the cake over Los Angeles at 16th. Although the Port of Los Angeles is big at 3000 hectares, the mammoth Jebel Ali (134 square kilometres) could eat it for breakfast. With the capacity to handle the big ships – its a knockout to Jebel Ali.

Click here to read challenge 2


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