The global shipping and port 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 vp and managing director, DP World, UAE Region in his opening address this week to the Middle East Liner Shipping Conference 2011.
“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,” he said.
Mr Al Muallem added, “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, Mr 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, COO, 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.