The Business Year

Close this search box.
HE Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem

UAE, DUBAI - Transport

Port Of Call

Chairman, DP World


Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem has served as Chairman of the Board of DP World since May 30, 2007. He was previously Chairman of Dubai World, and in this role oversaw businesses in industries as diverse as real estate development, hospitality, retail, e-commerce and various commodities exchanges, as well as businesses associated with transportation and logistics. He previously served as Chairman of the Port & Free Zone World FZE and he remains one of the two representatives of the Port & Free Zone World FZE on the Board. He is a leading international businessman, with more than 30 years’ experience in the marine terminal industry.

DP World pioneered the world’s largest semi-automated facility in Jebel Ali. What changes will the new terminal bring to your operations? Automation, and the new technology that enables it, is […]

DP World pioneered the world’s largest semi-automated facility in Jebel Ali. What changes will the new terminal bring to your operations?

Automation, and the new technology that enables it, is the way of the future and will help our customers and the supply chain realize the efficiencies on land that the new megaships generate at sea. It is a giant leap forward in terms of customer service and continues Jebel Ali’s industry leadership. It is also in line with Dubai’s vision of transforming itself with smart systems using technology. The remote-controlled operations at the new 4 million TEU Container Terminal 3 (T3), set to open in 2014, also fit into a wider safety and environment strategy. With 19 highly sophisticated automated quay cranes and 50 automated rail mounted gantry (ARMG) yard cranes, T3 will be at least 30% more carbon efficient than a conventional terminal operation. Importantly, with the cranes operated from a purpose-built operations building set apart from the quayside using remote control technology. Automation takes people off the quay, helping to prevent accidents. In doing so, it will also transform the workplace at the port, and the work has attracted a team of highly skilled and diverse people, especially Emiratis who will make up the majority of the 50 ARMG crane operations teams, including, for the first time, Emirati women.

DP World’s facility at Jebel Ali is a flagship for the company. What improvements are you planning for 2014 at this specific facility?

Planning for the long term is something DP World has always done and will continue to do. We regularly engage with our partners to enhance our service offering, develop smart processes, and improve infrastructure. Our aim is to increase our customers’ competitiveness and improve supply chain efficiency. As mentioned, we are currently constructing the brand new T3, and together with a 1 million TEU expansion we opened in the middle of 2013, Jebel Ali will reach 19 million TEUs by 4Q2014. Significantly, the opening of T3 means we will be able to handle 10 of the largest container vessels afloat simultaneously, the only port in the region able to do so. Looking to the future, with the forthcoming connection of Etihad Rail to Jebel Ali, the port will be part of a multi-modal supply chain that seamlessly links sea, road, rail, and air through the Dubai Logistics Corridor, reinforcing our position as the premier gateway for the region and the entire Middle East. Jebel Ali sets the standard and is the model for our global portfolio of more than 65 marine terminals across six continents, including the new developments we have underway in Europe, Africa, India, and the Middle East. The unrivaled efficiency and connectivity of Jebel Ali, plus the adjacent free zone, home to more than 7,500 companies, continue to drive the economic growth not just of Dubai and the UAE, but of the wider region of some 2 billion people.

What are you doing to boost your human resources?

I have mentioned some of our investment in technology and in our Jebel Ali facility already, but our dynamic and committed team of 30,000 people worldwide is the driving force of our company, and we constantly investing in them. For example, in 2013, DP World, UAE Region provided its staff with 196,000 training hours. By developing the skills and talents of our employees and providing them with new opportunities to excel, all while encouraging and supporting innovation, we create a work environment that is stimulating and exciting, which in turn translates into outstanding customer service, excellence in operations, and a vibrant, growing company. This goes hand-in-hand with investing in enhancing efficiencies at our terminals through the use of the latest technologies and state-of-the-art, eco-friendly equipment. Jebel Ali Port is a leading electronic transaction facility, with the port community portal, Dubai Trade, providing an online service that gives customers increased productivity and reduces costs and time for the shipment of goods. Currently, Dubai Trade offers more than 750 services around the clock. Other features include gate automation supported by radio frequency identification, container tracking to enable 20,000 truck movements a day, and 3G connectivity to help shipping lines access bay and stowage plan information, thereby reducing the time spent in port.

How important is sustainable growth for the countries you are working in?

Sustainability is fundamental to our company and integral to everything we do. Our concessions are signed for decades, and we, therefore, invest for the long term and become part of the communities in which operate. Emerging markets are a strong focus for us, and in fact they generate around three-quarters of our business. We have found that efficient ports support economic growth; as trade grows, businesses grow, communities prosper, and individuals gain new opportunities. For every job created inside a well-run port, up to five jobs are created outside it. This contributes to sustainable growth over the long term.

How do you work to reduce the environmental impact of port operations?

We operate in a range of different environments around the world, and we strive to reduce the environmental impact of our operations through rigorous planning and management. Our focus is on reducing our resource consumption, preventing pollution, conserving biodiversity, and managing emissions to preserve the world we live and operate in. DP World has launched an energy reduction project and campaign as a complementary approach to our CO2 emission reductions, and to promote all-round energy efficiency in our terminals. Energy efficiency not only minimizes our environmental impact, but also that of the global supply chain, of which we are a key component. Measures taken include automation, replacing diesel with electrical machinery, switching to LED lighting, and e-transactions. In 2013, we achieved an 8.7% reduction in our absolute CO2 emissions globally, and we have further challenging targets for coming years.



You may also be interested in...

Georg Schroeckenfuchs

UAE, UAE, DUBAI - Health & Education

Georg Schroeckenfuchs


President & Head MEA Cluster, Novartis

Fady Richmany

UAE, UAE, DUBAI - Telecoms & IT

Fady Richmany


Senior Director and General Manager for United Arab Emirates, DELL Technologies

Ayman Al Wadi

UAE, UAE, DUBAI - Economy

Ayman Al Wadi


Group Executive Chairman, AW Holding

View All interviews

Become a sponsor