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Dubai ranks first in the Arab world in ISCD Index

Dubai has successfully retained its leading position as among the world’s top five destinations for the maritime industry in the International Shipping Centre Development (ISCD), Index.

The emirate’s continuing status as a global hub for maritime shipping and logistics was revealed in a report that was recently issued by Baltic Exchange, and Xinhua, a London-based international news agency affiliated with the China Economic Information Service, CEIS.

For the fourth consecutive year, Dubai occupied fifth place among the 20 most powerful international centers for maritime commercial shipping and first place in the region, ranking ahead of Rotterdam, Hamburg, Athens / Piraeus, New York / New Jersey and Ningbo / Zhoushan. According to the ISCD index report for 2021, Singapore, London, Shanghai and Hong Kong are the top four centres for global freight.

Sultan Bin Sulayem, Chairman of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, expressed his optimism following the results of the recent report and said that Dubai’s ability to maintain its position among the world’s top five destinations for maritime shipping for the fourth year in a row is a testament to the city’s leading position in the sector and the exceptional maritime business environment that exists in the UAE.

Bin Sulayem said the latest recognition reflects Dubai’s competitiveness on the global shipping landscape and ability to implement scientific frameworks and policies that enhance the efficiency of the maritime sector.

His Excellency added that for Dubai to retain its leading position as only city in the Arab world on the list is clear evidence of the emirate’s continued growth and keenness to strengthen its position on the global maritime map.

Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, Executive Director of the Dubai Maritime City Authority, said that the International Shipping Centre Development Index evaluates the competitiveness of attracting maritime businesses and the extent of development in maritime centres around the world. Additionally it evaluates their impact in advancing the growth of the global shipping sector. The index also evaluates government transparency within each country on the list, while also taking into account the ease of doing business, the performance of logistics services and capabilities of the departments and e-governments of the countries. The Executive Director of the Maritime Authority explained the index evaluates three primary indicators (port infrastructure, shipping services and general environment) and 16 secondary indicators using a comprehensive evaluation model to assess the overall performance of 43 cities around the world that provide port and shipping business services.

Sheikh Saeed indicated that the index was based on a number of secondary factors, including; the rate of transporting dry and liquid cargo, the number of cranes, the capacity of containers and the port draughts. It also measured the number of shipping services provided by the countries, such as shipping brokerage, shipping engineering, shipping business and shipping financing, as well as maritime legal services and customs tariff for shipping.

Dubai is seeing a strong revival in wooden dhow trade this year due to the recent establishment of the Marine Agency for Wooden Dhows, with wooden dhow exports reaching 365,632 tonnes and imports reaching 260,001 tonnes in the first half of 2021.

Established by the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) in July 2020 to streamline and regulate the activity of the traditional vessels in the emirate’s waters, the Marine Agency for Wooden Dhows facilitated the entry of more than 5,383 wooden ships into the ports of the emirate in the first half of 2021 carrying merchandise from countries across the MENA region and beyond.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said the Marine Agency for Wooden Dhows, which is exclusively responsible for regulating the activity of wooden dhow ships in Dubai waters, has simplified and expedited various procedures related to the docking, departure, and clearance of merchandise of the vessels in Dubai. It also coordinates with government agencies to manage all aspects of maritime safety of wooden ships and safeguard the rights and interests of seafarers working on them.

The Agency also provides several commercial options for the vessels such as facilitating long-term contracts for their services, in addition to protecting their merchandise from damage during loading and unloading operations at Dubai ports.

A major historical commercial destination, the Dubai Creek has been the centre of the dhow trade in the Gulf and beyond for several centuries. Traditional dhows, now powered by modern engines, continue to ply routes between ports across the MENA region trading goods ranging from foodstuff to furniture. Merchandise carried by the traditional vessels are a major source of supply for traditional souqs located along Dubai Creek as well as the emirate’s fruit and vegetable and livestock markets.

The dhow trade plying through Dubai has also seen a digital transformation with DP World’s introduction of the NAU digital marketplace. Launched officially in February 2020, NAU connects dhow owners with traders allowing them to search, negotiate and book shipments.

The app uses the latest AI technologies to connect traders with the boat captains. Dhow Captains (locally called ‘Naukhda’) have the facility to view business requests from traders that match their planned trade routes and available dhow space.

Accordingly, the app helps ‘Naukhdas’ to effectively plan their trips, optimise efficiency in dhow space utilisation and ultimately generate higher revenues. Traders, on the other hand, can search for availability of cargo dhows in Dubai, based on their requirements.



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