UAE set to become global shipping industry hub

Feb 04, 2003 01:00 AM

The UAE is set to become a global shipping industry hub, Hussain Sultan, Group CEO and Board Member of Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), said. From supplies, bunkering and repair, to ship finance and maritime law, the UAE has become a sophisticated global shipping environment, with half the world's internationally trading fleet of tankers passing UAE shores once a year, he said at the opening session of the first Seatrade Middle East Maritime conference.
"We have seen a number of new companies bringing their maritime business headquarters to Dubai," he added.

The maritime industry in the UAE spends about half a billion dollars every year to buy materials for building, repairing and servicing ships, while Dubai's ship repair and supply sector caters to the needs of up to 400 ships per year. With a surrounding sophisticated multi-dimensional maritime service sector, it is natural that the UAE has taken the opportunity to join the emerging maritime centres, with excellent facilities and a world-class infrastructure, Sultan said.
However, he warned that as investments increase, and Dubai consolidates its position as the regional maritime hub, so the draw of the Gulf as a global maritime cluster increases. As the volume of shipping increases, there are security, safety and environment challenges to be addressed.
"It is the responsibility of us all to ensure that at a time of increasing investment in the region's maritime industry, growth is not encouraged at the expense of the environment, safety or security," he said.

General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, UAE Defence Minister and Chairman, Government of Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said in his welcome message that the Middle East had "huge potential for commercial shipping and cruise tourism.
"Dubai and the UAE are established as a major strategic hub for container operations and as a regional centre for ship management and a wide diversity of maritime service infrastructure,ship-repair and ship supply to ship classification and maritime law," the message said.
"In cruise tourism, Dubai has already invested in a state-of-the-art terminal that will accommodate the increased volume of cruise calls in the region that is forecast over the next three years," it said.

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