Dubai’s position as a world-class, premier international maritime hub received a strong boost on Monday as a latest survey released by the Xinhua-Baltic International Shipping Centre Development (ISCD) Index ranked the emirate among top five globally. Singapore once again tops assessment of global maritime cities thanks to its status as one of the world’ s leading ports and its importance as an international maritime business centre. The past 12 months have not seen significant changes in the rankings as port developments and many major investments were put on hold around the world.
The top five international shipping centres in 2022 are Singapore, London, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Dubai.
Dubai’s shipping industry is ranked best in the Arab region, which is a relative newcomer in this list of predominantly centuries-old maritime centres. The UAE has heavily invested in infrastructure, which has in turn attracted business and tourism. Today, maritime plays an important part in Dubai’ s diversified mix of industries. It has a lot to shout about with its established ports including DP World-operated Jebel Ali and Mina Rashid, and purpose-built Dubai Maritime City - a 2.5 km2 site developed in 2004 and situated between Mina Rashid and Dry-docks World. The latter also includes a free trade zone offering tax relief, and this, combined with a 2020 UAE decision to enable foreign ownership of certain maritime businesses, furthers its ambitions to position itself as an attractive option for international business and investment.
Dubai Maritime City announced a $38 million plan to invest in roads and infrastructure to better integrate the maritime city and attract more businesses.
“The major upgrade to the roads and infrastructure at Dubai Maritime City is part of our efforts to support the Dubai Maritime Vision 2030, which aims to develop, regulate and enhance the local maritime industry and strengthen Dubai’ s position as a world-class, premier international maritime hub,” Mohammed Al Muallem, executive vice-president, DP World, was quoted in the report.
Capt (Dr) Porus Dalal of GFS Ship Management in Dubai, said: “Dubai is strategically located between the Far East and Europe making it convinient port to call for cargoes. The governments initiative to rope in road transport and trucking from neighbouring countries in conjunction with world class facilities and trade incentives have brought Dubai to the epicentre of shipping. DPW interacts closely with cargo interests and have taken feedback to address the issues faced and improve the trade experience.”
Dubai offers a number of different locations in which to do business, including, free zones, industrial areas and commercial buildings. “There are number of free zones that allow 100 per cent foreign ownership of businesses. Mainland business regulations allow full foreign ownership in 122 economic activities across 13 sectors and offer 100 per cent profit repatriation, Dubai Maritime City Authority told the Xinhua-Baltic ISCDI Report.
Nikeel Idnani, secretary, IMarEST UAE branch, said: “The ISCD ranking is based on the quality of port and professional services. Dubai has a default strategic geographical location. Astute leadership has ensured world class infrastructure while maintaining political stability, both conducive factors forming the bedrock of maritime hubs. During the pandemic, while the rest of the world was creating limitations, Dubai seized the opportunity and created a haven for international financial markets and superior talent, thus enabling the flourishing of shipping businesses. While long-established ports such as Singapore, London and Rotterdam have been dominating the top spots in international maritime centre rankings, Dubai feels it’s never too late to be great.”
The 9th edition of the Xinhua-Baltic ISCD Index report produced by the China Economic Information Service, a subsidiary of Xinhua, in collaboration with the Baltic Exchange, the report ranks the top port cities and maritime centres around the world.
Dubai-based Constellation Marine Services — maritime consultants since 2007 with 3 registered offices in the UAE — opines that Dubai’s maritime hub success can be attributed to an established two-pronged approach – sustainable investments and expansion in port infrastructure
Captain Zarir Irani, chairman and board member of Constellation Marine Services, said: “The emirate’s continuous strengthening of regional and hub cooperation, including trade routes within and outside the traditional GCC countries with effective and intelligent handling of global disruptions bolsters its popularity.The policies have provided exceptional maritime business environment coupled with ease of doing business.”
Endorsing similar positive sentiment, Leroy Dias, founder SteelCorr, said: “Dubai could be deemed the new kid on the block and it’s great to see that it has surged past the old timers such as Rotterdam and Hamburg in such a short period of time. It is clear to see that the country’s leadership has pledged the support needed for Dubai to shine in the shipping sector. Moreover, the most important aspect of any business is “People”. And, one of the biggest advantages Dubai has is their ability to hire the best “People” from the global talent pool. While most countries are limited to hiring local in-country available staff due to immigration regulations, Dubai is able to offer visas to global talent and bring them into the country. Not to mention, the lifestyle offered here is on par with the best in the world.”
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