H.E. Suhail Al Mazrouei, The UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure said, “2020 was an eventful year with the whole world facing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic continues to evolve, it has only made us stronger and resilient. The project cargo and breakbulk sector is considered one of the most important pillars in the UAE and is a major contributor to our economy.”
His Excellency added, “In the UAE, we are proud that two of our ports are placed among the world’s top 50 container ports. The UAE currently accounts for 35% of investment in the maritime region, and we have invested over AED 157 billion into expanding local ports here. Despite the current challenges and the lockdowns and travel restrictions in many parts of the world, the industry bounced back in the UAE, thanks to embracing technology to maintain an efficient supply chain.”
His Excellency expects that the sector will see an uptick in business gradually and the post-COVID-19 era will be marked by the strong rebound, driven mainly by a range of timely measures, strong fundamentals, investments in intelligent technologies and financial incentives.
Al Mazrouei explained, “Over the years, Breakbulk Middle East has united us, giving us a platform to share our experiences. This has definitely led to constant improvements in regulations, working protocol and the general operations in the industry. The event has gained our support over the years for its ability to make a difference in the industry and today with the Digital Special successfully taking off, we are confident that the event will continue contributing to the industry in the UAE and the Middle East in general. We will continue supporting this event and are hopeful of seeing everyone in-person for next year’s edition.”
The way forward
Highlighting the colossal changes in the industry owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Business Briefing - Middle East Business and Project Outlook session featured industry experts from leading organisations who discussed the impact of the pandemic on business in 2020, touching upon topics like capital project delays, postponements and cancellations. They also spoke about business in the future, tackling the crucial question of when business will pick up again and investments will speed up.
Ed James, Director of Content & Analysis, MEED Projects, provided a status update on regional capital projects covering the oil & gas, infrastructure, renewables and other sectors as well as predictions for the regional project market moving forward.
H.E. Eng. Hessa Al Malek, Advisor to the Minister for Maritime Transport Affairs, The UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure clarified, “The global pandemic caused major disruption to every sector, including the project cargo and breakbulk sector, yet there seems to be hope. Organisations have been quick to address the challenges of the pandemic and have acted promptly by adopting digitalisation and mitigating the impact of the pandemic. This has contributed to limiting the negative impact and enhancing the industry’s position in the circumstances that the whole world is going through.”
H.E Prof. Dr. Ismail Abdel Ghaffar Ismail Farag, President of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, emphasized, “The breakbulk and project cargo sector plays an essential role in the Middle East region. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are among the front-runners in this sector. To ensure that we maintain a leading position, it is important to focus on the future generation who will lead the industry to greener pastures. This year, we are excited to partner with BBME Digital Special. Our students at the Academy have gained comprehensive insights from day one and are looking forward to day two that will have the Women’s Forum and the Education Day sessions.”
Planning for a Post-COVID era
The last session on day one was Navigating the Middle East Projects and Business Landscape in a Post-COVID moderated by Guillermo Cobelo Fernández, Regional CEO of Técnicas Reunidas. The session featured Mohammad Jaber, COO & Regional Director of Project Logistics Middle East & Africa Agility; Mohammad Al Ali, Senior Vice President, Ship Management, ADNOC Logistics & Services and Khalid Al Marzooqi, Director, Commercial, Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD).
The all-star panel reflected on the project update for 2021, discussing the new opportunities, the impact of COVID-19 and the key takeaways from it. Panellists also highlighted the opening of new promising markets, such as Israel and Qatar and how they can boost business in the region.
Ben Blamire, Event Director, Breakbulk Middle East, clarified, “Looking at the event take off with a flying start brings a sense of relief to us. We have always stressed on the growth of the industry by bringing together experts, aspiring professionals and students. The primary goal of the Digital Special is no different. Witnessing the enlightening sessions, we are rest assured that all our attendees have had a fabulous, knowledge-rich day one.”
Leslie Meredith, Marketing Director, Breakbulk Events & Media said, “It gives me immense joy to say that the first day has been a hit. This would not have been possible without the support of the government and private sector organisations who endorsed us. Our genius speakers have provided us with such critical insights. We are positive that from here on the industry will collectively move forward to achieve more success. We are looking forward to day two that will tackle other important concerns such as women’s role and the next generation of the industry, that we must be speaking about.”
Breakbulk Middle East Digital Special will be free for all. Breakbulk also recently launched the Breakbulk365 program that includes engaging webinars and the BreakbulkONE Show to ensure the project cargo industry stays connected and updated on insights and regional information at all times.
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About Breakbulk Events & Media, a division of Hyve Group (formally ITE Group)
Breakbulk events are held in four locations around the world and are the leading industry-specific exhibition in each region. Due to strong gatekeeping systems with companies in the Middle East, Breakbulk Middle East is one of the only ways to make direct connections with logistics and procurement decision makers, assured by its deepening ties with local government. More than an exhibition, Breakbulk Middle East offers a full two-day conference, covering the hot topics project cargo specialists need to know to seize regional opportunities and construct effective project plans. Led by the key players in the region, the conference also offers face-to-face opportunities to discuss these topics in greater depth. With strong support from regional cargo owners, Breakbulk Middle East is the place for logistics, transport and other service providers to connect with those that hold new business contracts.
Breakbulk Middle East Press Contacts:
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© Press Release 2021