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HANSA 06-2019

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Häfen | Ports UAE

Häfen | Ports UAE builds on its seafaring heritage Already recognized as an increasingly important location, U.A.E. intends to further expand its position as a maritime hub. Among others, plans are being pursued for maritime services, education, classification and ports, Mark Venbles writes Since the days that the Barbary Pirates ruled the waves along the Persian Gulf, the region has enjoyed a deep-rooted relationship with the maritime sector. While to some extent that remains the case today for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) there is no escaping the fact that despite that heritage the sector no longer holds sway over the industry in the region. In the UAE the maritime sector contributes around 5% of the nation’s GDP despite other sectors such as construction and materials, metal fabrication, textiles, and food processing now leading the way. »A hundred years ago 16,000 people were living in Dubai,« Nawfal Al Journai, director of Dubai Maritime Cluster Office (DMCO), says. If you look at that workforce, almost 6,000 people, all of them, 100%, were working in the maritime sector. Now fast forward to 2019, what’s the percentage? Over two million people now live in Dubai and less than half a percent work in the maritime sector. »In Dubai, we have a long-term strategy to grow the national talent. We have institutions that teach and train people to become qualified in the maritime industry. However, it is a culture issue more than anything else, particularly if you’re from the UAE. A hundred years ago it wasn’t a pleasant industry. It was associated with loss, pain, and the suffering because of the conditions for seafarers at that time. However, we are starting to change the persona of what it is like to be working in the maritime field.« Unlike a century ago a buoyant Dubai offers a myriad of high-tech opportunities for employment, something that the DMCO recognizes. This is one of the reasons that a prime focus in the maritime strategy is digitization. »We have the Dubai Maritime Virtual Cluster. This is an innovative concept that promotes ease, efficiency, and quality for a broad and integrated range of maritime services provided by the maritime sector to all marine investors from around the world while also helping bolster more cooperation and engagement between industry leaders through a virtual platform that the cluster provides.« Dubai is No. 9 of maritime capitals and the leading center in the Middle East, India, and Africa region © DMCO 80 HANSA International Maritime Journal 06 | 2019

Häfen | Ports Establishing a platform Two prestigious surveys in the past six months confirm that the region is on the right track when it comes to increasing their status amongst the global maritime community. First, the UAE as a nation was ranked 14 th globally in the prestigious »Leading Maritime Nations in The World« report released late last year. Then earlier this year it was announced that Dubai had climbed one ranking spot to ninth according to the 2019 edition of The Leading Maritime Capitals of The World 2019 report making it the leading center in the Middle East, India, and Africa region. Another essential box was ticked earlier last year when the UAE was elected to the IMO Council as a Category B member, raising its profile within the maritime community. However, for a sector to thrive it needs visibility. Other maritime centers around the world such as Oslo, Hamburg, and Singapore have high profile events that attract the great and the good to the region. Until recently that was lacking in The Emirates until the advent of The UAE Maritime Week. »This represents an essential growth mechanism for our sector,« Al Journai adds. »The more you grow, the more relevant you become to whichever area of work you are involved in.« That’s why UAE Maritime Week is a milestone for the sector here because world leaders in the Maritime community come to Dubai. Notably, in the part of the event called the UAE and Dubai Maritime Summit. One thing that had been lacking for The UAE that all the other leading maritime nations possessed was a classification society, but that was rectified three years ago when The UAE Federal Transport Authority (FTA) approved Tasneef as the first Arab classification society. Since that day Abu-Dhabi based Tasneef has focused on securing the technical ability and growing its homegrown base of ships. To date that modest total stands just above 100, which falls well short of leading classification companies such as DNV GL and ClassNK, who have around 8,000 vessels each on their books. »The maritime field in the UAE is challenging, it’s not an easy market,« Saeed Salem Almaskari, chief executive officer of Tasneef says. To date, Tasneef has flag recognition from seven flags: UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Morocco, Panama and St. Vincent on a case to case basis. The plan is that this year Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will be added to that group. »At present, we are predominantly catering to the GCC countries,« he continues. »We have also applied to St. Kitts and Nevis for recognition, and hopefully this year they will be conducting an audit on us. Each subsequent year we plan to grow this by adding two flags.« Almaskari explains that for growth to succeed there needs to be a clear strategy from the FTA. He is hoping that this includes a requirement for all UAE registered shipping to be classified by Tasneef, but to date, that commitment has not been forthcoming. Thriving ports continue to grow The UAE has always been well served with ports. The two leading ports, DP World’s Jebel Ali in Dubai and Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi are backed up by free zones – Jebel Ali Free Zone. In Dubai and the Khalifa Port Free Trade Zone in Abu Dhabi. Jebel Ali handles more than 15 mill. TEU annually and with the opening of the highly automated Terminal 4 later this year that capacity may well rise, but for now most of the cargo will come from Terminal 1 which will close and undergo refurbishment. Terminal 4 will be one of the most automated terminals in the world and will feature an innovative High Bay Storage (HBS) system. The design and rack structure of the system allows containers to be stored up to eleven stories high, delivering the capacity of a conventional terminal in a third of the surface area. It is also fully automated eliminating the need for reshuffling. Khalifa, Abu Dhabi’s largest port, serves 25 shipping lines with direct links to more than 70 international destinations. In May 2018, Abu Dhabi Ports signed a 30-year concession agreement with MSC Mediterranean Shipping company to develop the container terminal in the UAE. It is planned to expand the current capacity to 9.1 mill.TEU over the next five years. Part of that expansion comes from the inauguration last year of CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal which positions Abu Dhabi as the regional hub for COSCO’s global network of 36 ports. The deepwater, semi-automated container terminal includes the largest Container Freight Station (CFS) in the Middle East, covering 275,000 m2. n Class: Another string to its bow DP World’s Jebel Ali port handles more than 15mill.TEU annually. Later this year, the opening of the highly automated Terminal 4 is planned © DP World HANSA International Maritime Journal 06 | 2019 81

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