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Dubai's export volume to Africa up 30%

Shipping volumes from Dubai to various countries in Africa have risen by 30 per cent in the past two months, a senior official from a company that ships commodities from the Middle East to Africa said yesterday.

"Supported by pre Ramadan buying, the exports from Dubai and other ports in the Middle East to Africa have risen by about 30 percent in the past two months," a senior executive of PIL (UAE) told Emirates Business on condition of anonymity. The commodities exported comprise dates and other edible items.

"It's the food items that have contributed to the rise in export volumes. Volumes of cars being exported to countries in the continent has subsided on the other hand," the executive said, without providing figures.

Dubai is a major exporter of second hand cars to countries in Africa.

The volumes are expected to be subjected to correction after Ramadan. "We expect a slight correction in volumes," said the executive.

Goods exported from Africa to destinations in the Middle East, however, remain abysmally low. Even tea exports from Africa to the Middle East are low now. While some of the countries in the dark continent such as Angola and Nigeria export oil, almost all countries are major importers and import everything from agricultural products to machines and drugs.

Freight rates, however, remain low. This comes as a result of emergence of new capacity that was ordered two years earlier. Identifying the abysmally low freight rates is the primary challenge that the shipping sector is facing today. Top Dubai-based officials from other shipping firms recently said these rates must rise by $2,000 (Dh7,340) container for the shipping companies to sustain.

Freight rates dropped by close to 50 per cent from a peak in July 2008 (when rates were propelled by the high fuel prices) to January 2009. They remain low even though signs of economic recovery have now begun to emerge globally. "Low freight rates remain our main challenge," Robbert van Trooijen, the Dubai based Chief Executive of Maersk West and Central Asia recently told this paper.

Source :
Posted on :9/8/2009