Trade tensions will make 2019 challenging, says DP World chief

Freight containers on a container ship at DP World Southampton. The head of the ports operator said the psychological impact of US-China trade tensions were starting to translate into reality. (Reuters)
Updated 18 November 2018

Trade tensions will make 2019 challenging, says DP World chief

DUBAI: Global ports operator DP World believes international trade tensions such as those between the US and China will make 2019 challenging but not unmanageable, its chairman said on Sunday.
The Dubai government-controlled ports operator cautioned in August about geopolitical risks and changes in trade policies as first-half profit fell 2.1 percent.
DP World Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem told Reuters he believed the psychological impact of trade tensions involving the US were starting to translate into reality.
Financial institutions were becoming increasingly cautious and taking measures such as tightening lending in reaction to trade tensions, he said in an interview at the DP World Tour Championship golf tournament in Dubai.
That is likely to have a negative impact on growth in emerging markets, he said.

 

 DP World, one of the world’s largest port operators, was taking measures to reduce costs, and is addressing how it will manage a challenging 2019, said bin Sulayem.
“We are finding ways to make sure that we do well in 2019,” he said. He declined to comment when asked if the company would report a higher profit this year.
“Historically, we have managed worse scenarios than this,” he said of global market conditions, adding that DP World had reached its goals in 2018.
DP World is in a dispute with the government of Djibouti, which in February seized a port in the country operated by the Dubai company under a 50-year concession.
Bin Sulayem repeated a denial that the government of Djibouti has offered to buy DP World’s stake in the concession. He said he asked them to make an offer in January.
They have not taken “any measures to contact us,” he said.
DP World has also launched legal proceedings in Hong Kong against China Merchants over allegations they have infringed on their concession rights in Djibouti, he said.

FASTFACTS

BACKGROUND

Trade tensions were evident in Papua New Guinea on Sunday when Asia-Pacific leaders failed to agree on a communique at a summit for the first time in their history as deep divisions between the US and China over trade and investment stymied cooperation.


Google Cloud prepares for Black Friday ‘peak on top of peak’

Updated 04 August 2020

Google Cloud prepares for Black Friday ‘peak on top of peak’

  • Cloud technology, used to host websites and store data, is a key part of many retailers’ e-commerce operations

OAKLAND, California: Alphabet’s Google Cloud unit is poised for a surge in fourth-quarter sales from US retailers, as they brace for record online shopping during the holidays because of COVID-19 lockdowns.
Cloud technology, used to host websites and store data, is a key part of many retailers’ e-commerce operations. As fees are often pegged to site traffic, a jump in activity will drive up revenue for the unit.
Carrie Tharp, vice president of retail and consumer at Google Cloud, said that her team had this year tossed out its linear growth model to predict how many servers it will need to process web orders for retailers around Black Friday.
“We’re planning for peak on top of peak,” she said on Monday. That could be a boon for Google Cloud, which has generated about 30 percent of its revenue during the fourth quarter the last two years.
Stores such as Kohls Corp. and Wayfair Inc. lean on Google months in advance to ensure it has enough servers to withstand increased shopping during holiday discount days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday in November and December.
This year, Black Friday-style demand has flooded shops since March, when the United States began lockdowns, Tharp said.
Holiday shopping is expected to boost demand further, as retailers including Target Corp. and Walmart Inc. have said they will reduce in-store hours because of coronavirus concerns.
Tharp said the pandemic has already benefitted Google Cloud, with some retailers adopting its predictive algorithms years ahead of plan to help them work out the most efficient way of fulfilling orders.
Electronics retailer Best Buy Co., for instance, announced on Tuesday a multi-year deal to centralize customer and product data with Google Cloud to improve its loyalty program and online ad campaigns.
The companies declined to elaborate on the deal, but Tharp said she hopes it leads to Google eventually powering Best Buy’s web ordering system.