Dubai-based port operator DP World has its sights set on building out India's logistics network

Key Points
  • India is set to experience major growth in shipping, said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, CEO of Dubai-based port operator DP World.
  • His company is looking into working on logistics and transport infrastructure — what it deems to be among the biggest bottlenecks in the country.
  • That work will include looking at waterways and rivers for transportation options.
India and Dubai Port World are working together on logistics

India is set to experience massive shipping industry growth, so Dubai-based port operator DP World is looking into ways to get involved in logistics and transport infrastructure in the country,

Speaking to CNBC at the World Government Summit over the weekend in Dubai, DP World CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said he was optimistic about India's shipping industry.

"India is going to be the biggest growth. We feel it. And there are many initiatives by the Indian prime minister to basically increase production ... the ease of doing business, the financial systems, all that means there is going to be growth," he added.

Although the ease of doing business in India is improving and things are getting done faster, Bin Sulayem said infrastructure is still a problem — it takes a long time to move cargo into the city.

That problem is exacerbated by the state of trucking in the country.

"The problem is trucking is difficult in India. So we are looking at waterways, rivers, transportation. That will simplify the operations that we have," he said.

Shipping containers and gantry cranes stand at a container transhipment terminal operated by DP World in Cochin, India.
Dhiraj Singh | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The port operator recently signed a $3 billion joint venture with the National Indian Infrastructure Fund to improve logistics in various areas.

According to the DP World website, the company is currently operating or developing ports in six cities in India: Mundra, Nhava Sheva, Cochin, Chennai, Visakhapatnam and Kulpi. In Asia, the firm also works in Thailand, Vietnam, China, Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea.

Although the environment in the United States is "good for business" now, DP World has not found the right opportunity to enter the market there, Bin Sulayem said.

"[President Donald] Trump is lifting his foot from the brake. He removed regulations that are becoming bottlenecks for businesses," he said. "He gave some visibility of what he wants to do."

The CEO also took a positive tone on Trump's trade rhetoric.

"What he's talking about is not protectionism. What he's talking about is free trade," Bin Sulayem said. "He's saying, 'I want free trade to be fair trade — if you don't open your markets, why should we open our market?' I think it's fair."

But the "expensive" costs to operate ports in the U.S. are prohibitive now, he said.

"There is nothing to stop us to go to the United States, we can always go. We haven't found the right opportunity. The cost of operations in the States makes the returns very low."