DP World is a large port and terminal operator with headquarters in the Middle East and operations that span the globe. The company operates 77 terminals and includes 50 related support businesses. Operations are conducted in 40 countries and on six continents. The staff of DP world is also global with 37,000 employees hailing from 110 different countries. The main focus of DP is the handling of containers and in 2015 it handled 61.7 million TEU.
Port operations like those conducted by DP World are dangerous and put workers at risk every day. Lifting large containers with huge cranes, moving cargo by truck, and movements between docks and ships, all contribute to the danger of a terminal setting. Any small accident can become catastrophic and can and has led to the injuries and deaths of workers. These workers have rights under maritime law and may seek compensation.
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The history of DP World has humble beginnings. In 1972 it began with a single port, Port Rashid in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The company wouldn’t open its next port until 1979 with Jebel Ali, also in Dubai. By 1991 these two original DP ports would be combined to create the larger Dubai Ports Authority. Since then the company has added numerous ports and terminals to its list of operations, ranging from ports in Saudi Arabia to Romania to India, and others on six continents.
DP World has also expanded its reach and operations over the years by acquisitions. These have included CSX Terminals and The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O). The acquisitions not only helped DP become a global leader in container handling, they also helped the company reach ore locations and gain footholds in North and South America, Australia, Europe, and Africa.
There were some hiccups along the way for DP including the controversy surrounding its acquisition of P&O in 2006. This purchase led to the transfer of ownership of several U.S. ports to DP, a company based in the United Arab Emirates. Leaders in the U.S. were concerned about security issues. The deal was ok’d, but members of Congress put the brakes on and eventually DP sold P&O’s operations in the U.S. to American International Group.
The main operations of DP World are the owning and operating of ports and terminals around the world and handling containers and other types of cargo. Some of the locations at which DP operates include several ports in India, China, and other Southeast Asian locations, Canada, Brazil, Australia, France, the United Kingdom, West Africa, and of course the Middle East. The company also has several other terminals in development.
In addition to DP’s main focus on terminal operations, the company also has a fleet of maritime vessels and other businesses. The fleet includes ice breakers, tug boats and river barges, all used to improve the transportation of cargo. The part of the business that operates cranes is called World Crane Services and offers inspection, maintenance, and repair of terminal cranes. DP also provides stevedore services and intermodal transportation for cargo.
Terminal and Port Dangers
In operating in terminals and ports, DP World is a maritime company that faces the risk of accidents that can hurt or kill workers. Like other companies, DP has a responsibility to take all reasonable measures to protect workers from the risks of port work. These workers face the dangers associated with lifting heavy cargo, working in an environment with a lot of moving equipment and vehicles, and working on and off ships over water and at heights.
DP World strives to make its workplaces safe through vessel inspections, safety drills, and technological innovations. As an example of the latter, DP World developed a device that would make stacks of containers more stable and less prone to tipping or toppling over. The device uses lasers to guide the containers as they are moved and stacked by cranes.
DP has also tried to reduce accidents in the busy waterways of its ports by introducing a tracking system that closely follows vessels as they move in and out of ports. The technology was introduced in the port of Jebel Ali where 2,200 vessels move through the water each month. This congestion can lead to accidents, but more accurate tracking of them is hopefully going to prevent collisions.
DP World Accidents
In spite of safety measures, DP has experienced accidents in its ports, some of which have hurt or killed workers. One of these occurred in 2015 at DP’s Port Botany in Australia. The accident occurred when a container being trucked out of the port came loose and fell from the vehicle. The container was locked in place, but it was found that the driver took a turn too quickly and failed to stop at a stop sign. This accident illustrates how human error and choices made by individuals can lead to accidents.
At DP’s Port of Vancouver a fire broke out in a stack of containers in 2015, although luckily no one was hurt in the incident. It is likely that a flammable chemical in one of the containers triggered the fire. Workers in ports are surrounded by dangerous materials and the fire, but also exposure to this hazardous chemical could have caused harm.
Longshoremen and Workers’ Rights
Longshoremen are the people working in ports and terminals, including those owned by DP World. They carry cargo on and off ships, operate cranes, drive vehicles that move cargo, and provide other services. These workers are vulnerable to accidents and to being hurt or killed on the job. Even a minor mistake can end up causing a tragic accident and all workers could potentially be the victim of it.
Workers have rights, though, in the maritime industry, and one of those is to seek compensation after an accident. If you have been injured on the job as a port worker, you can seek compensation that will help cover your medical bills, lost earnings, and other expenses related to being hurt. Make sure you talk to a maritime lawyer to find out exactly what your rights are and what you need to do after an accident.