Global terminal operator DP World buys Fraser Surrey Docks

Dubai-based DP World adds Fraser River container terminal to its other major West Coast port properties

Dubai-based DP World has added Metro Vancouver's Surrey Fraser Docks to its portfolio of B.C. container terminals Rob Kruyt photo

DP World has acquired Metro Vancouver’s Fraser Surrey Docks marine terminal from a division of Macquarie Group, an Australia-based international investment bank.

Dubai-based DP World did not release the dollar value of the acquisition, but noted that the purchase consideration was below 2.5% of its net asset value, which totalled US$7.2 billion as of December 2018.

The deal was done through subsidiary DP World Canada Investment Inc., which is 45% owned by Caisse de dépot et placement du Québec (CDPQ), one of North America’s largest pension fund managers.

Three years ago, DP World and CDPQ created a $5 billion funding pool to invest in global container terminals.

DP World, which owns Prince Rupert’s Fairview and Vancouver’s Centerm container terminals, holds a 55% share of the new investment pool.

Over the past year, it has pursued an ambitious acquisition game plan. For example, last year it bought Unifeeder, Europe’s largest container cargo feeder operator, in a deal worth an estimated US$765 million. DP World also acquired Peru’s Cosmos Agencia Maritima and India’s Continental Warehousing Corp.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, DP World’s group chairman and CEO, said in a press release that the Fraser Surrey Docks acquisition complements the company’s business footprint in West Coast Canada.

“We are seeing increasing demand from our customers for multi-purpose facilities in the region, and we believe Fraser Surrey Docks has the relevant infrastructure and is in the right location to service this demand.”

Bin Sulayem is bullish on B.C.’s West Coast. During the August 2016 unveiling of DP World’s $200 million expansion of Prince Rupert’s Fairview container terminal, he told the attending crowd of dignitaries that the northern port has the potential to become a major destination for transpacific container cargo exports and imports and a full-service North American logistics hub.

“Prince Rupert is like Dubai,” he said, “a place where dreams become reality.”

It is now one of North America’s fastest growing container ports.

DP World also plans to invest $350 million to increase the capacity of its Centerm container terminal in Vancouver.

It owns more than 78 marine terminals across six continents.