The phenomenal growth of the Middle East logistics industry is a matter of pride for the entire region.
Countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have invested millions of dollars to develop their transportation infrastructure, while local companies such as Aramex, Agility and GAC has evolved into global powerhouses.
Even international heavyweights such as DHL, Kuehne + Nagel and FedEx have flagged the Middle East as a major growth market for the future. As a chance to acknowledge our industry achievers and celebrate their success, ITP Business, publisher of Logistics Middle East magazine, organised its second annual Supply Chain and Transport Awards (SCATA) in Dubai last month.
The event, which was hosted in the lush surroundings of Al Marooj Rotana hotel, was another monumental success and attracted around 250 of the industry's leading figureheads, arriving from countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and even further afield from Europe and the United States.
We include detailed coverage on the awards in this issue of Logistics Middle East, with quotes from the winners and a special photo section from the ceremony and gala dinner.
It also seems an opportune time to thank everybody involved in SCATA 2008. In particular, it's the hard work and dedication of the prestigious judging panel that has pushed the importance of this initiative within the industry.
On this month's cover, therefore, its fitting that we organised an exclusive cover shoot with the judges: Issa Baluch (CEO of Swift Freight International), Captain Mansoor Ghafoor (CEO of STALCO Group and president of the National Association of Freight and Logistics), Dr Kanak Madrecha (senior manager of Dubai World and founding member of the Supply Chain and Logistics Group), Dr Cedwyn Fernandes (chair of the College of Graduate Studies at the University of Wollongong in Dubai) and Sebastian Thomas (logistics manager of Al-Futtaim's retail division).
Unfortunately, despite his best intentions, Michael Proffitt was unable to reprise his role on the judging panel following his resignation as CEO of Dubai Logistics City (DLC).
Unsurprisingly, this was a hot topic of discussion during the SCATA ceremony and something we will discuss in more detail next month.
Suffice to say, a lot of changes are afoot at DLC, with a major restructure being finalised and Abdulla Al Qurashi being appointed as the project's new chief executive officer.
We look forward to bringing you the details soon.In the meantime, the countdown now begins for SCATA 2009 and we welcome any comments or suggestions for the event.
After all, these awards are for you and it's important to get the industry involved at all levels. If you could like to provide some input, please don't hesitate to contact me on the email address below.
Robeel Haq is the group editor of ITP Business' transport magazines.