DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - The Middle East's biggest sea port is growing.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) The Middle East's biggest sea port is growing.

Dubai port operator DP World said on Tuesday it is beginning a $1.6 billion expansion of the Gulf commercial hub's sprawling Jebel Ali port.

The expansion will add a fourth container terminal to the port on a reclaimed island north of one of its existing container terminals. The first phase of the project will be able to handle the equivalent of 3.1 million standard 20-foot shipping containers annually by 2018, boosting capacity by 16 percent.

Jebel Ali is the centerpiece of government-backed DP World's network of more than 65 marine terminals around the world.