The global shipping and ports industry needs to pull together to meet ever-changing challenges even as it continues to recover from the effects of the financial crisis, said Mohammed Al Muallem, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region, recently.
In his opening address to the Middle East Liner Shipping Conference 2011, sponsored by DP World and supported by the Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), Al Muallem said: “Today there is a continued need for caution because of many uncertainties. Several issues including rising fuel and charter costs, political instability and piracy are affecting trade and the cost of shipping. It is in the interest of the industry to come together to find new cost-effective solutions to overcome these challenges.”
The focus of the two-day event attended by scores of top industry leaders, including ship owners and maritime analysts, is on some of the key areas shaping the Middle East liner industry, such as cargo growth, freight analysis for growth markets in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, terminal handling capacity, inter-modal transport, regional hub competition, the role of free zones and supply chain security, among others.
Al Muallem said: “The world has seen a slow recovery from the economic crisis, but the Middle East’s economy has come back steadily, even better than expected. The regional economies are young and have managed to rebound relatively early and their growth is being fuelled by domestic demand, infrastructure development and projects that reflect the region’s economic potential.”
Referring to DP World, UAE Region’s experience with operational efficiencies at its flagship facility, Al Muallem said: “Moving forward the industry needs to become more efficient and create value within the supply chain through innovation and by maximising the use of technology. At Jebel Ali Port we have pursued a steady policy of delivering what our customers want, and to be in a position to grow in line with market demand.”
In his speech to the conference, Rashed Ali Al Qahtani, Chief Operating Officer, DP World, UAE Region, explored the issue of whether enough container-handling capacity was being developed to match the growth in trade, as well the role of free trade zones in promoting sustainable development.
Other senior company executives are participating in panel discussions during the conference included Dirk Van Den Bosch, Chief Commercial Officer, DP World, UAE Region, Abdulla Bin Damithan, Director for Account Management – Container Terminals, DP World, UAE Region, and John Woollacott, Senior Vice President, Business Development, DP World.