Called P&O Ports, the new company will develop and operate marine and inland ports "in markets with a need for well-managed trade and logistics infrastructure" to "support sustainable development in emerging economies", the government said in a statement.
P&O Ports will be wholly owned by the government of Dubai, as a subsidiary of its Ports, Customers and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC).
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman of PCFC said: "We are pleased to announce that P&O Ports has signed memorandums of understandings to enter into preliminary discussions with the governments of Madagascar, the port of Berbera in the Republic of Somaliland and Albania to enhance their port infrastructure. The launch of P&O Ports complements Dubai's global investments in the port industry and diversifies its operations to include maritime terminals of all sizes."
These brownfield ports, which mostly handle general cargo and bulk commodities, "are a source of great opportunity but tend to be uneconomic for larger operators. P&O Ports, as a newly created, specialised company, provides the flexibility to compete more efficiently within this sector," the statement said.
The port industry's future is not confined to large ports, Dubai's government said. Feasibility studies have shown that there will be increasing demand for smaller port services in emerging economies, it said
Dubai will continue to operate large and medium ports through DP World, its ports and free zones authority, which has more than 65 marine terminals across six continents, the statement said.
The UK container ports and ferries group P&O was bought by DP World in 2006.