A handful of Emirati companies have made names for themselves in the international arena; and DP World is a prime case in point. The company, however, enjoys somewhat of a mixed reputation; it is heralded as one of the most exciting global port operators on one hand, yet the subject of negative news headlines on the other.

Today’s insight considers DP World from a governance and ownership perspective, to outline what drives its strategy and decision-making. As both a commercial and political vehicle, its propensity to create a conflict of interest is real.

Key Points

  • Unlike in Abu Dhabi, Dubai’s royal family do not have lucrative oil reserves in abundance. As a result, the modus operandi of the Al Maktoum differs from the Al Nahyan’s, which is manifest in their pro-business approach to governance.
  • To diversify Dubai’s economy, resources have been poured into a number of industries, among them shipping. DP World has built-up a strong international presence, and it promotes Dubai as a shipment hub all over the world.
  • However, its massive footprint means that the royal family face heavy commercial exposure overseas – potentially impacting how they engage in politics abroad. Also, a ‘business at all costs’ attitude may unintentionally contribute to ultimately damaging stability in the region.