AD Ports Group: Expanding Global Presence And Strategic Growth Initiatives

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AD Ports Group (ADX: ADPORTS), a leading facilitator of global trade, logistics, and industry, today issued its 2023 Annual Report. The report highlights significant achievements for the Group that expanded its international footprint significantly in 2023, particularly following the integration of Noatum, a global logistics platform with a presence in 27 countries and a leader in automotive logistics services in Europe. Moreover, a series of ports, terminals, maritime and shipping agreements in Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, the Republic of Congo, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, supported doubling the Group’s revenue and extended its global reach to 46 countries, reports AD Ports Group.

Strategic Direction

The Group’s growth strategy is underscored by a prudent and risk-aware approach, leveraging its stable revenue streams and favorable macroeconomic conditions to drive expansion. This multifaceted strategy combines the operational enhancement of current assets with strategic mergers and acquisitions both within the domestic market and internationally. 
Central to this strategy is the Group’s aim to strengthen its presence in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, whilst pursuing targeted growth in the regional market, and establishing a significant global footprint in the logistics and trade services sector.

The Group’s focused inorganic growth strategy focuses on strategic investments to proactively pursue opportunistic complementary, synergetic, and value-added investments in logistics, maritime & shipping, and port assets. This will drive enhanced customer relationships, expand the Group’s logistics network, and bolster its Abu Dhabi-based operations, ensuring these opportunities align with its criteria of scale, management quality, and financial attractiveness. 

With this strategy supported by a robust financial foundation and a portfolio of high-quality assets, the Group is well-positioned for resilient growth across varying economic and industry cycles.

Market Overview

The global shipping industry experienced a year of mixed fortunes in 2023, with a return to normalized shipping rates across various segments, despite uneven supply-demand dynamics. While the tanker, offshore, bulk, and Ro-Ro segments enjoyed a positive year, bolstered by China’s reopening and a 3% increase in global trade volumes, the container market faced challenges, with rates softening due to a gradual regularisation of supply chains post-COVID-19 and an increase in vessel fleet supply. 

Despite these disparities, the industry on average remained 33% above its 10-year trend, with energy shipping and the offshore segment experiencing strong performance – Ro-Ro rates hit all-time highs and bulkers recovered in the fourth quarter. The container segment, however, saw better performance in trade lanes related to AD Ports Group, while main East-West routes were deeply affected.

Looking ahead, the shipping and logistics sectors are set to continue evolving in response to the post-pandemic shift from “just-in-time” to “just-in-case” strategies, driven by new trade and investment policies, national security considerations, and the move towards regionalization and localization of supply chains. This shift, alongside the rapid digitalization of the logistics sector, is expected to improve trade efficiency and future-proof supply chains. AD Ports Group, with its diversified port-centric logistics footprint, is well-positioned to capitalize on these trends, offering strong support for the re- and nearshoring of supply chains through its global assets.
 
Furthermore, the recent Red Sea disruptions are anticipated to further impact volumes and rates in 2024, highlighting the importance of regional feeder services and the strategic positioning of AD Ports Group in navigating the challenges and opportunities in today’s volatile market.
AD Ports Group annual report details some of the major achievements, as well as acquisitions and agreements signed in 2023, that have extended the Group’s global reach. 

The year began with the inauguration of the Aqaba Cruise Terminal, the first-of-its-kind facility in Jordan and concluded with the signing of a definitive 30-year concession agreement with the Red Sea Ports Authority (“RSPA”) for the development and operation of a multi-purpose terminal at Safaga Sea Port, a strategic location on the Red Sea coast of Egypt.

A key milestone in the Group’s international expansion strategy was the landmark 100% acquisition of Noatum, a global integrated logistics services provider with presence across all major global markets and trade lanes.

As part of the Group’s Africa Strategy and commitment to strategic development within emerging markets, it signed a 30-year extendable concession agreement to manage and operate a multipurpose terminal in Congo’s Pointe Noire Port.

AD Ports Group’s focus on replicating the company’s integrated business model in regions that offer long-term and sustainable growth prospects, was reflected in the signing of a 50-Year concession agreement with Karachi Port Trust for the development of a state-of-the-art container terminal. This is aimed at driving growth, promote trade diversification, and strengthen bilateral ties between the UAE and Pakistan.

Additionally, in response to the growing demands of the global offshore oil and gas market, 10 vessels were purchased that will bolster offshore operations in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The year also saw a significant collaboration with Kazakhstan’s national shipping company, KazMorTransFlot (KMTF), leading to the acquisition of two advanced vessels for transporting Kazakhstan’s oil across the Caspian Sea. Today, the Group operates over 250 vessels across all service lines. 

Financial highlights for 2023 included a revenue growth of 112% year-on-year to AED 11.7 billion. Results for the 12 months ending 31st December 2023 reported strong operational and financial performance with EBITDA increasing 23% YoY to AED 2.67 billion and total Net Profit reaching AED 1.4 billion in 2023, up 6% YoY.

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Source: AD Ports Group

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