Dubai delays Jebel Ali port expansion

Updated 18 August 2016
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Dubai delays Jebel Ali port expansion

DUBAI: DP World, one of the world’s largest port operators, is delaying the expansion of Dubai’s Jebel Ali port, its main facility, because of softer market conditions, the company said on Thursday.

A plan to add 1.5 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) of annual capacity to Terminal 3 at Jebel Ali will be delayed into 2017, while expansion of Terminal 4 will also be slowed, DP World said without giving details.
The company had announced in July 2015 that it would invest $1.6 billion in Terminal 4, which was to be completed by 2018. Jebel Ali handles shipments not only for the United Arab Emirates but for much of the region.
Since last year, however, growth in the oil-rich economies of the Gulf has slowed because of low oil prices. Saudi Arabia’s imports, for example, shrank 20 percent from a year earlier in May, according to official data released this week.
“After the 2009 financial crisis, trade helped support Dubai in part thanks to government stimulus in the region,” said Dima Jardaneh, head of regional economic research at Standard Chartered.
“Now Dubai’s trade is feeling the impact of a contractionary economic environment and the absence of stimulus.”
DP World’s decision also reflected a subdued outlook for global trade flows. Expansion in the volume of world trade is expected to remain sluggish at 2.8 percent in 2016, unchanged from 2015, the World Trade Organization forecast in April.
“(The) global trade environment remains challenging including for Jebel Ali port,” DP World said, adding that the company handled 7.4 million TEUs of cargo in the UAE during the first half of 2016, down 6 percent from a year ago.
The company had previously disclosed that its consolidated throughput for the first half — volumes at ports which the company controls around the world — was 14.6 million TEUs, down 1.4 percent.
DP World’s decision may be a negative omen for several other ports in the region, which launched multi-billion dollar expansion plans when oil prices were high several years ago in efforts to become trans-shipment hubs for the Gulf.
Abu Dhabi has said it aims to increase the capacity of its new Khalifa Port, only about 50 km down the coast from Jebel Ali, to 15 million TEUs by 2030 from 2.5 million TEUs at present, depending on demand. Qatar and Oman are expanding their ports.
Also on Thursday, DP World reported a 50 percent jump in net profit attributable to shareholders during the first half to $608 million, helped by the acquisitions of Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone and Canada’s Fairview Terminal.
DP World’s revenue for the first half was $2.09 billion, up from $1.90 billion a year earlier.


EU gives Nestle a thumbs down in Kit Kat finger row

Updated 19 April 2018
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EU gives Nestle a thumbs down in Kit Kat finger row

  • Nestle has been locked in a decade-long battle with US rival Mondelez, maker of Cadbury chocolate, over the four-fingered wafer biscuit, which was first sold in 1935.
  • The EU’s intellectual property office allowed Nestle in 2006 to trademark what the court calls the “three-dimensional shape of the ‘Kit Kat 4 fingers’ product.”

Luxembourg: The European Union’s top court should cancel Swiss food giant Nestle’s trademark for the shape of the Kit Kat chocolate bar, the court’s top adviser said Thursday.
Nestle has been locked in a decade-long battle with US rival Mondelez, maker of Cadbury chocolate, over the four-fingered wafer biscuit, which was first sold in 1935.
The EU’s intellectual property office allowed Nestle in 2006 to trademark what the court calls the “three-dimensional shape of the ‘Kit Kat 4 fingers’ product.”
Advocate General Melchior Wathelet said the European Court of Justice (ECJ) should dismiss an appeal by Nestle against a lower court’s 2016 decision to annul the trademark.
“Nestle did not adduce sufficient evidence to show that its trademark had acquired distinctive character,” Wathelet said.
He said the intellectual property office should now “re-examine” its decision.
The Luxembourg-based ECJ often, but not always, follows the advice of the advocate general, its senior legal adviser, when making its final judgment.
The food giant specifically failed to show that the Kit Kat shape was well enough known in Belgium, Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg and Portugal, relying instead on market data from other countries, he said.
The official also said the EU court should reject an appeal by Mondelez against part of the judgment, saying it was “manifestly inadmissible.”
Nestle has already lost a legal bid in Britain — currently an EU member state but set to leave next year — to trademark the Kit Kat shape.