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Government, private sector cooperation kept UAE at forefront of global trade amid covid-19

15 Dec 2020

Dubai’s Emergence as Global Trade Hub on the agenda at Hypermotion Dubai 2021 panel discussion

Dubai, UAE: Governmental department private sector collaboration was key to keeping the UAE at the forefront of global trade and connectivity during covid-19, a Dubai Customs official said, with the UAE ranking as one of world's most connected nations amid the coronavirus.

Ahmed Kazim, Head of Strategy at Dubai Customs said Dubai Customs is currently linked with 28 government entities with a main objective being to facilitate the free movement of goods.

At the outset of the global pandemic, Mr. Kazim said Dubai Customs sat with other key global logistics partners such as DP World, and Emirates Sky Cargo, to help ensure uninterrupted supply of essential goods across the world through Dubai.

“We sat together to activate the Sea Air Strategy announced by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai,” said Kazim.  “We managed to reduce the time to move goods from sea to air from 48 hours to three hours. So just imagine how fast you can move goods between sea and air?  That wouldn’t happen without the collaboration between the different government entities.”

Kazim was speaking at a panel discussion about Dubai’s Emergence as a Global Logistics Hub, hosted by Hypermotion Dubai, a global forum addressing the future of the transport, logistics and mobility sectors through disruption, decarbonisation and digitalisation.

In addition to robust government department cooperation, Kazim said private sector collaboration was also critical in ensuring Dubai maintains its position as a global trade hub.  “We created the Dubai Customs Consultative Committee, and we’re the world’s first Customs agency to establish such a group,” said Kazim.  “We meet with 14 leading Dubai business groups quarterly to discuss the current situation, trends, new technologies, policies and procedures.

“We take care and we listen and we work with them on how we can support them and how we can make them flourish in Dubai with more business.”

Kazim’s comments come as the UAE emerged as one of the top five most globally connected countries in the world, according to a recent study by DHL, a global courier, parcel, and express mail service.

The DHL Global Connectedness Index 2020, compiled in collaboration with the NYU Stern School of Business, tracked international flows of trade, capital, information and people across 169 countries during the coronavirus pandemic.  It found that the UAE, along with the Netherlands, Singapore, Belgium and Ireland, led the global rankings.

Mr. Kazim said the rise of e-commerce was amplified by covid-19, with Dubai Customs implementing new regulations to maintain a high growth of digital transactions in the coming years: “Dubai Customs created new laws and regulations that are not being implemented anywhere in the world, and that are designed to support the vision of e-commerce,” he added.

Hypermotion Dubai’s panel discussion was also addressed by Mohsen Ahmed, CEO of Logistics District at Dubai South; Nadia Abdul Aziz, President of the National Association of Freight and Logistics in the UAE; and Ibrahim Al Najjar, IT Director at DP World, one of the world’s largest port operators.  The panel was moderated by Roland Zibell, Director of Logistics Consulting at ADI Consulting.

Al Najjar spoke about DP World’s transition from a local port operator to a global trade enabler with technology at the core of its strategy: “Over the last few years there has been a major transformation within the identity of DP World, and it was mostly driven towards aligning with the larger strategy of Dubai’s vision to be a global trade hub,” said Al Najjar.

“DP World restructured itself to incorporate these visions within the organisation’s identity, and so DP World is no longer just a port operator, but we identify ourselves as a trade enabler.  Our mission and our vision is not to move containers between ships and yards, but to look into the customer journey and the trader journey from A to Z.

“We really depend on technology to enable that trade transaction, not only from within Dubai, but internationally, because the nature of trade is to exchange between other markets.  Technology helped us realise that vision to become a trade enabler and not just a port operator.”

Al Najjar said Dubai’s high standing in global trade, logistics, and connectivity is due to the emirate’s proactive approach to innovation.

“DP World, and Dubai in general, is not going to wait to see what’s going to happen in 10 years when it comes to the disruption, decarbonisation and digitalisation of global trade and logistics,” said Al Najjar. 

“We are going to make what we want to happen in 10 years. And that happens through taking bold decisions, investing in innovation and shaping the future so that it becomes our reality.”

‘Dubai’s Emergence as a Global Trade Hub’ was part of a video panel discussion series hosted by Messe Frankfurt Middle East, the organiser of Hypermotion Dubai, which will make its debut from 2-4 November 2021 at the Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC).

The annual three-day event will take place with DP World as Global Partner and Dubai South as Future City Partner.  Other government partners and supporters include Dubai Tourism as Destination Partner; Dubai Chamber; UAE Ministry of Economy; UAE National Program for Artificial Intelligence; Dubai Supreme Council of Energy; and the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

Hypermotion Dubai will coincide with Expo 2020 – the Arab region’s first World Fair running under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. 

With mobility, sustainability, and opportunity key subthemes of the six month-long mega event, Expo 2020 is set to provide a much larger global audience for Hypermotion Dubai, which will operate under four key themes: Connectivity, Hypermodality, Sustainability and Digital & Urban Logistics.

Hypermotion Dubai is designed to connect public and private investors as well as decision makers with technologies made specifically for the mobility industry with a lead focus on logistics and freight.

It will target a unique mix of Business-to-Government (B2G), Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-People (B2P) audiences through strategic content, high-end networking opportunities, competitions and pitches covering all aspects of the future of intelligent transport systems.

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