UAE ports up to the task

UAE ports up to the task

ABU DHABI — With the big boost in the capacities of ports, the UAE is now in a position to handle the rapidly-increasing trade levels from emerging markets, according to UAE Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri.

By Haseeb Haider

Published: Wed 20 Mar 2013, 10:52 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:43 AM

“These markets are projected to account for about 45 per cent of the global output by the year 2025, according to IMF estimates,” he said at the World Ports and Trade Summit in the capital.

Nabil Ahmed Qayed, technical director at DP World UAE; Shaikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber; Jamal Majid bin Thaniah; Abdul Aziz Al Tuwijiri, President of Saudi Ports; and Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri at the opening of the World Ports and Trade Summit 2013 in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. — KT photo by Shoaib Anwer

Over 300 of the world’s top industry leaders are participating in the two-day conference, which was opened by Shaikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court. The show is being hosted by Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Ports Company, while Jamal Majid bin Thaniah, group chief executive officer of Port and Free Zone World and vice-chairman of DP World UAE, also spoke on the occasion.

In his speech, Al Mansouri said that over the past few years, “we have realised how interconnected we are as one global community. During this time, we have also witnessed the evolution of new economic powerhouses. These countries now have a larger role to play in shaping the global economy going forward.”

As the focus shifts away from developed economies and on to emerging ones, Al Mansouri said the Gulf region must be prepared to adapt to the new challenges ahead and take advantage of the new opportunities that will evolve.

While Gulf countries must continue to explore potential opportunities around the world, he said “there is a need to foster greater trade ties with these emerging economies in particular, as they are forecast to account for almost half of global GDP by 2020.” By 2050, the minister said “four of the top five economies will come from the developing world — China, India, Brazil and Russia — and the collective economic output of these countries will match the economic output of G-7 countries by 2032. This is more than 20 years away.”

In order to capitalise on the Gulf region’s potential in global trade, Al Mansouri said the development of ports infrastructure must be enforced with modern logistics and new industrial zones, as Abu Dhabi has shown this with the massive integrated facility created with Khalifa Port, which is part of Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi.

A robust ports infrastructure helped transform the UAE as the regional hub for trade and business activity, which eventually attracted more foreign direct investment, and in turn, contributed to the diversification process of the UAE’s economy, he said. “Ports have encouraged tourism by facilitating port visits of the fast-expanding global cruise business. They have also created employment opportunities, not only at the industry level but also in the wider economy by paving the way for enhanced business investments,” he added.

“We have managed to weather the challenges of the global downturn and our economy is on course to increase. The maritime sector therefore must continue to focus on the best business practice and technologies to support this economic revival,” he added. Trade routes are the global economy’s circulatory system, and a well-oiled maritime industry keeps the circulation smooth and efficient, he said.

Al Mansouri asked the ports and shipping industry to invest more in innovative technologies. The industry must keep in mind that long-term sustainability in trade and economic prosperity demands innovative solutions and best practice in management systems.

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