UAE Maritime Week 2019 kicks off amid global praise for Dubai’s leadership and rising influence in maritime industry
Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, the UAE Maritime Week 2019, the pioneering regional maritime event, kicked off today to provide a unified platform for all stakeholders to discuss how to build an innovative and knowledge- and technology-driven maritime industry in the 21st century. High-profile international maritime leaders and pioneers attended the first day to explore the rising opportunities in maritime trade, which will be tackled during a series of high-level events. The scheduled events are aimed at enhancing the sharing of international best practices and experiences led by Dubai’s achievements in its quest to become a major maritime hub for global trade. The opening ceremony was attended by VIPs, dignitaries, and top maritime leaders led by H.E. Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development, Chairman of the Federal Authority- Land & Maritime Transport; H.E Noriel Araúz, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP).
Significant international attention was given the local maritime sector during the opening of the UAE Maritime Week 2019. Dubai has been ranked first in the Middle East and fifth globally in the list of the best maritime centers in the world for 2019. The emirate was also included in the top five global centers in the International Shipping Center Development Index. The string of achievements is mainly attributed to the support of the country’s wise leaders and concerned authorities’ commitment to deliver advanced maritime services and build a modern legislative and legal infrastructure in line with the international maritime protocols and conventions. Thanks to its continuing accomplishments in the field, the UAE has been granted the Category B membership of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the first Arab country to do so.
H.E. Bin Sulayem said that the UAE Maritime Week is aligned with the international efforts to promote the maritime industry amid rapid changes brought about by growing technological revolutions with disruptive features that continue to impact major economic sectors, including the maritime community.
H.E. Bin Sulayem added: “The event comes at a time when Dubai and the UAE are leading the way in the global maritime world after the emirate’s inclusion on the list of ‘Best Global Maritime Capitals of 2019.’ Through the UAE Maritime Week 2019, we are reaffirming once again our commitment to highlight Dubai’s unique maritime model, a solid foundation for its advanced maritime clusters driven by technological innovations. Our efforts are also in keeping with the emirate’s path to harness the power of next-generation technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain. Today, we are going to proudly highlight our experiences in enhancing the competitiveness and attractiveness of the maritime sector, in line with international laws, agreements, and protocols, as we seek to be a pivotal player in shaping the future of trade, transport, and shipping worldwide. We look forward to our interaction with the participants over the next few days. The discussions will undoubtedly yield positive outcomes, promising opportunities, and long-lasting solutions to emerging obstacles in support of our shared goal of establishing a safe, innovative, and sustainable global marine clusters.”
The UAE Maritime Week 2019 began with the Dubai Maritime Agenda 2019. Maritime leaders, decision makers, regional and international experts, government officials, policy makers, and representatives of major international companies working in the maritime sector were some of the gathering’s top attendees. The Agenda raised a number of issues affecting the future of the global maritime industry through its four main sessions. The first session titled ‘Commercial uncertainty: China, Brexit, and maritime market fundamentals’ outlined the importance of China’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative in shaping the future of the global maritime industry. The initiative focuses on reviving the Maritime Silk Road to enable China directly reach Africa and Europe through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. The Agenda also tackled the critical issue of overcharging in the shipping sector. Moreover, the session looked into the readiness of ports and ships to comply with IMO’s resolution ordering them to reduce the sulfur content of marine fuel used in the open seas from 3.5 per cent to 0.5 per cent beginning 2020.
The second session, ‘Artificial Intelligence/Blockchain Technologies and Maritime Trade,’ shed light on the current and emerging challenges as well as opportunities concerning new technological innovations, cybersecurity, AI, automation, and other digital systems. The attendees talked about the impact of new technologies on the human element of shipping. Titled ‘Globalization and Consolidation: Two Irreversible Trends for the Industry,’ the third session highlighted the importance of uniting, directing, and adopting joint efforts to attract private family companies and other leading institutions to the shipping industry. The fourth session, ‘Regional Maritime Growth and Trade Opportunities,’ dealt with the regional dimension of the maritime sector and the promising commercial opportunities in the Gulf region and the Middle East, an emerging global center for maritime transport and logistics. Attendees also reviewed future growth potential in trade with China and the Indian subcontinent and ways to accelerate the development of Africa’s potential as a major trading partner.
The sessions featured valuable inputs from elite maritime personalities, including Richard Morgan, Regional MD, Maersk West and Central Asia Limited; Mike Bhascaran, Chief Technology Officer, DP World; Henning Schleyerbach, Chief Operating Officer, Digital Container Shipping Association; and Martijn Thijsen, Digital Strategy &Transformation Port of Rotterdam, among others.
For his part, Amer Ali, Executive Director of DMCA, said that the UAE Maritime Week 2019 is an opportunity to highlight Dubai’s advanced position as an influential force on the global maritime stage. Ali also underlined the event’s role in strengthening international cooperation to develop a clear roadmap for attracting substantial investments in research and development, innovation, and technology. This is in recognition of their part in advancing the global maritime industry according to future requirements.
He added: “Holding the event in Dubai is a testament to the international maritime community’s high confidence in the emirate as one of the most competitive and attractive maritime centers in the world, driven by the government’s unwavering support and sound guidance. The UAE Maritime Week started strong with the Dubai Maritime Agenda, which featured in-depth discussions on the benefits of incorporating technological innovations into the maritime sector, a crucial pillar of the government’s economic diversification plan. We will continue to strengthen our strategic partnerships with local and global maritime stakeholders to effectively address pressing issues using new data and amid the rapid industry changes. We also express our support for the Belt and Road initiative and new laws and regulations that may arise as a result of Brexit. We will also comply with IMO’s resolution reducing the sulfur content of marine fuels used in open seas, among others.”
The UAE Maritime Week 2019 will allow global maritime industry leaders to learn the latest innovations in shipping and cargo, which help facilitate, revitalize, and support the global maritime trade. This year’s edition will feature special events such as ‘Seatrade Maritime Awards Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa;’ ‘Seatrade Offshore Marine and Workboats Middle East;’ ‘Seatrade ShipTech Middle East;’ ‘Marine Insurance Conference;’ and ‘Dubai Maritime Law Conference.’