Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Chapter I

The world in a word is Dubai. I know the statement is audacious. To clarify and qualify that a bit, the world in question is actually two, Dubai Ports World and Dubai World Central. The former, perhaps better known as DP World, is the nemisis of the famous ports aquisition battle that took place from around September 2005 to March 2006. It was the aquisition battle fought around the world, first in the form of a daring bidding contest for the world's 3rd largest ports operator, P&O, and then an even more spectacular public relations battle between the Congress of the United States and, by comparison, a humble corporate entity of a soon to be denegrated US ally.

DP World won the first contest but lost the second. In the first the company played hardball, pulling all the stops to outbid a larger player. Perhaps it was a battle waged on territory familiar to the rapidly expanding ports operator. On the second front, it meekly assented to the fact that it was far out-gunned. Without a fight and nary even a word of complaint (well-founded though it would have been), DP World simply relinquished its right to partially manage operations at several US ports.

Both battles were rivetting as they played out in the press. The second battle, of course, had such broad international implications that the ordinarily apathetic American public began to weigh in on it. It was a battle won through dirty tricks or skullduggery, which US Congressman are known to resort to on more than the odd occasion. Though retreating, the UAE and Dubai delegation held the high-ground. A battle lost would not be a war surrendered.

DP World has moved on. The Middle East Economic Digest, a leading international news publication reports in its latest issue,
From virtually nowhere, and in the space of just five years, DP World has emerged as the world's third largest port operator through a combination of aggressive acquisitions... With the deep pockets of the Dubai government behind it, there is no reason why its end goal (to be the world's number one port operator) cannot be reached.
From cover story article Taking on the World.
Chapter II

That is the story of the world of Dubai, part one. Part two takes us into the air. It is a story that in interesting ways parallels that of DP World. To appreciate this one must look back on how DP World came to be. The same article quoted above sets the stage:
When Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed al Maktoum announced plans to build the world's largest man-made port at Jebel Ali in 1978, there were many who wondered why. With Dubai already possessing Port Rashid, it would, they claimed be a white elephant. Almost three decades on the move is now held up as a masterstroke.
De ja vu, two and half decades later, son of Sheikh Rashid, Sheikh Mohammed, proclaims that Dubai will construct the largest airport in the world, again at Jebel Ali. This, as the present Dubai International Airport was undergoing a massive expansion yet to be completed. In the true spirit of replicating history, where the Jebel Ali ports operation would come to be known as Dubai Ports World, the aviation venture, originally called the Jebel Ali International Airport, has been rebranded Dubai World Central.

Indeed, in the eyes of some, this would place Dubai at the center of the world. In even more spectacular fashion than the rapid emergence of DP World on the world's shipping stage, Dubai World Central plans to be an operation of incredible proportions. If one statistic alone were not telling enough, the massive complex is being designed to handle 120 million passengers per year, compared to the 67 million passengers now handled by London's Heathrow, considered the world's busiest international airport, and 88 million per year handled by the United States' Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest airport, handling both domestic and international passengers.

Chapter III

The crowning jewel was commissioned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in the form a decree dated 2 March 2006. In a 2 July 2006 public announcement, it was reported that a new corporate entity, Dubai World, was being officially launched...
as one of the world's leading holding companies, with over 45,000 employees in over 75 cities around the world.
From AME Info article Focused on the World

This conglomerate would be the umbrella organization for DP World and two of Dubai's massive property developers, Nakheel and Istithmar, along with a host of other interests. The words of Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of Dubai World, encapsulates the entity's ambitions:
Dubai World never stops working. Around the globe and around the clock, we are committed to achieving tremendous success. Our Holding Company is a pioneering collection of international companies who together will proudly advance Dubai and the world. We know this is just the beginning of what we can accomplish and are excited and optimistic about the future and how Dubai World can help transform it.
Focused on the World

854 words
Open a printable copy, in a new window.

Additional Reading:

American Interest in the Dubai Marina
We Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet

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