Dubai’s growing maritime influence

DMCA Operations Director Ali Al Daboos on Dubai's maritime industry.
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 As Dubai’s maritime industry continue to grow and evolve so does its contribution to the Emirate and its reputation as first class maritime hub.

The Dubai Maritime City Authority is playing a vital role in this growth, ensuring Dubai’s maritime activities take place under the right conditions.

Integral to all this is the DMCA’s Executive Director of Operations, Ali Al Daboos, a man determined to see Dubai and the UAE become globally recognised leaders in shipping.

He says for that to happen, Dubai needs a strong DMCA to help regulate, coordinate and supervise all aspects of the maritime sector in the Emirate.

Al Daboos says the DMCA provides a platform of excellence and quality as it develops world-class regulations and guidelines to raise the bar on the maritime industry and boost its infrastructure, operations and logistics services while encouraging investment opportunities to boost Dubai’s competitiveness at the regional and international levels.

‘’The DMCA has affirmed its commitment to support the Dubai Maritime Vision 2030 plan of creating a vibrant and safe maritime environment in the next two decades, which also seeks to establish Dubai as a leading global maritime hub,’’ says Al Daboos.

‘’Dubai Maritime Vision 2030 is of strategic significance as it underpins efforts to improve the local maritime sector,’’ he adds.

Al Daboos says Dubai Maritime Vision 2030 also emphasises how the competitive potentials of Dubai place it among the leading logistics and maritime centres in the Middle East and North Africa region and in the whole world.

‘’Dubai’s huge growth opportunities provide a positive outlook for Dubai’s Maritime sector in the next few years,’’ says Al Daboos.

He believes, in line with this, the DMCA will continue to take big strides in establishing the global appeal of Dubai’s maritime sector and helping realise the ambitious objectives of Vision 2030 which serve as an important guide for achieving a competitive and sustainable maritime economy that meets the highest environmental safety standards.

‘’Dubai Maritime Vision 2030 is the result of a meticulous study conducted on behalf of DMCA covering global maritime trends and possible scenarios. It provides a framework for anticipating future outcomes and their implications on the emirate’s maritime sector.’’

Al Daboos believes the maritime sector has played an important part in shaping Dubai's rich history in marine navigation and trade through the centuries.

‘’It also continues to become an important element as Dubai develops into a leading maritime gateway for traders in South East Asia and the West Coast of Africa.’’

He says Dubai's maritime sector still has significant room for growth, so in response to the urgent need for an integrated framework to enhance maritime local elements, the Maritime Sector Strategy (MSS) was established by Dubai to capitalise on the Emirate's competitive advantages to raise its prominence in the international maritime landscape.

‘’As a result of the continuous government's support for the maritime sector as a catalyst for economic diversification, Dubai is steadily moving in the direction of establishing itself as one of the world's pioneering maritime centres,’’ Al Daboos says.

He says the Emirate has achieved so much in terms of ports management, ship maintenance and operation, and overall maritime services.

‘’Dubai has deftly leveraged its numerous advantages such as its strategic location, secure investment environment, integrated maritime regulations, ongoing economic, social and cultural progress, and business friendly government support.’’

So how does he see the maritime sector playing a role towards Dubai’s economic diversification.

‘’The local maritime sector is one of the major income generators for Dubai, recently accounting for US$4billion or 4.6 per cent of the local GDP.’’

Among the top maritime components contributing to the local economy are maritime operations and engineering, ports and shipping, recreational maritime services, and maritime support services.

Al Daboos says these have played pivotal roles in creating over 75,000 job opportunities requiring high levels of competencies for various industry segments such as maritime operations and engineering and ports which account for 51 and 25 per cent of sector employment, respectively.

A recent benchmarking study on leadership across the international maritime industry conducted by DMCA reveals that the value-added contributions of Dubai's maritime sector to the local economy are at 4.6 per cent compared to 4.5 per cent in Hong Kong, 7 per cent in Singapore, and 4.8 per cent in Norway.
In terms of economic value added, the sector provided $4 billion in income to Dubai, compared to $11.1 billion for Hong Kong, $18.4 billion for Singapore, and $25.9 billion for Norway.

The study also shows how the maritime sector has become a prime source of employment. Dubai's maritime jobs ranked fourth with 75,000 employees; Hong Kong leads the pack with 222,000 employees, followed by Singapore with 167,000 and Norway with 101,000.

Al Daboos says the maritime industry is reaping the rewards of a well-structured strategy that includes great support from the government.

He turns the conversation to the recent Maritime Creativity Lab initiative, which he says was launched in response to the directives of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as he called to adopt the ‘Government Creativity Lab’ experiment as a standardised practice to develop government services and enhance government administrative performance.

‘’The Maritime Creativity Lab is based on latest advanced modes, smart communication networks and digital technologies such as tablets and smart screens,’’ Al Daboos explains.

‘’It is also providing an online portal and a set of mobile applications along with private accounts on social media networks to guarantee a favourable climate for drawing out creative ideas that would help develop a renewed and secure maritime sector in line with the highest standards of sustainability and excellence.’’

Set to go into effect in early 2015, the Maritime Creativity Lab provides a smart and interactive platform to boost communication among public and private entities, decision makers, industry experts, and maritime specialists, through face-to-face meetings under the umbrella of DMCA.

‘’The Maritime Creativity Lab will include wise and interactive meetings and brainstorming sessions with the leading local maritime experts as well as regional and international professionals to discuss key subjects related to improvement of operational efficiency, environment protection and strategic planning. It is based on the corporate values of DMCA, which encourages innovation and creativity to establish a vibrant and sustainable industry in order to boost Dubai’s comprehensive development march under directives of our wise leadership.’’

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