Monster cranes invade London

Originally broadcast on Emirates News, 2 March 2013

Dubai has been breaking records again, but this time, 5,500 kilometres away, in London.  Yes, the largest cranes ever built have sailed all the way from Shanghai to DP World’s newest port – the London Gateway. They’ve just arrived and will be a spectular addition to the English capital’s skyline, as Noni Edwards reports.

They’ve been dubbed giant cranes, monster cranes, mega-cranes and how else would you describe the biggest cranes ever built?

Taller than the London Eye, they almost challenge logic, being sailed into British waters.

The engineering rationale for their sheer size is simple. According to Andrew Bowen,  the engineering director for Dubai Ports’ London Gateway, as container ships get bigger, so must the cranes that are required to load and unload their cargo.

“These cranes are very important, they are the largest cranes ever built in the world and they are here to unload the ships, which are then delivering the products into our container stacks, and then onto trucks and out into the consumer market,” he says.

Worth USD 10 million and weighing 2,000 tonnes each, they’ve come from China on board the Zhen Hua 26. These three cranes form the first shipment of 24, destined for the Thames Estuary, 20 miles from the capital, for the multi-billion dollar deep-sea port project.

London Gateway’s CEO is proud to be bringing their port “back home”, where Simon Moore says it should be.

“It’s a deep sea hub port to serve the whole of the UK, it is also Europe’s biggest logistics park. Zero cost to the UK tax payer, this is 100 per cent private investment by DP World,” says Moore.

The port is being built on new land in the county of Essex, using 27 million cubic meters of sand and gravel taken from the river, which is enough to fill the city’s Olympic Stadium 65-times over.

The delivery of the cranes marks a significant milestone for London’s new port.

“This is very important, we’ve got the quay behind us which is built and now we have the equipment which we can offload from the vessel, then start our commissioning and training programme to enable us to open in the later part of this year,” Bowen explains.

With this project, the port’s management are hoping to achieve nothing less than restoring London’s status as a premier center of global trade.

“London Gateway is a massive infrastructure project in the UK,” says Moore. “It is the biggest job creation project in the UK. 36,000 new jobs here, we are very very big, we are 3 times the City of London”

Once complete and at running at maximum efficiency, the 2.5 kilometre port will be processing around 3.5 million containers of freight each year and will be able to accommodate ships that are nearly half a kilometre long.

Dubai World Restructure

by Noni Edwards
(originally written for Emirates News 25/3/10)

The Dubai Government will invest $9.5 billion to recapitalise state-conglomerate Dubai World, as part of a comprehensive restructure proposal. The Chairman of Dubai’s Supreme Fiscal Committee, His Highness Sheikh Ahmad bin Saeed Al Maktoum, released the details  today.

Sheikh Ahmad explained that the restructuring of Dubai World and Nakheel is designed to put both companies on a sound financial footing and allow them to realise the full potential of their underlying businesses.

This stability will be provided by the Dubai Government, acting through the Dubai Financial Support Fund, in the form of a commitment to provide up to $9.5 billion in new funding. This Support Fund provided significant assistance to both companies last year, providing interest payments and money for working capital expenses, as well as Nakheel’s December payment on its sukuk (Islmaic loan instrument).

The $9.5 billion will be comprised of an amount of $5.7 billion that remains from a loan previously made available from the Government of Abu Dhabi. The remainder will come from internal Dubai Government resources.

Dubai World has been in discussion with its lenders and has formulated a proposal to creditors for the restructure of its loans. In a statement, the company says “the Government is offering to recapitalise Dubai World through the equitisation of the Government’s $8.9 billion claim including a commitment of up to $1.5 billion in new funds.”

Sheikh Ahmad explains that the businesses that make up Dubai World are important components for the future economic growth and prosperity of the Emirate of Dubai and the UAE.

He says the restructure will allow the conglomerate to focus on its core holdings and to manage and realise full value from its assets.

In relation to the Nakheel proposal, he says, “bank creditors will be asked to restructure their debt at commercial rates.”

“Trade creditors will be offered a significant cash payment shortly and a tradable security and if the deal is accepted.

The 2010 and 2011 Nakheel sukuk will be paid just as the 2009 sukuk payment was last December.

The Government is offering to inject approximately $8 billion in new funds into Nakheel which it says, will have a significant direct impact on the construction and real estate sectors and the wider economy.  Nakheel will recapitalise through the equitisation of the Government’s $1.2 billion.

The proposal was overseen by a chief restructuring officer appointed in November 2009 and is based on a comprehensive analysis of the circumstances facing each company.

It was prepared to serve the interests of all stakeholders, including customers, contractors, employees and creditors.

The Chairman says the next steps involve detailed discussions between Dubai World and Nakheel, and their creditors.

The two companies will present revised business plans, which take into account the current business environment and reflect the new direction being given to both companies.

The restructuring process is expected to take several months to implement and in that time, the government will keep the Tribunal available to protect the companies, their creditors and other stakeholders.