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Officials at the meeting

UAE 'will make changes in law to help maritime sector'

DUBAI, September 11, 2018

The UAE authorities are willing to make decisions that will meet the requirements of the country’s maritime industry and further foster the sector, said Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development and the chairman of the Federal Transport Authority for Land and Maritime.

Speaking at the UAE Maritime Leaders Roundtable Discussion, he said: “We have kept our promise and have issued a number of decisions based on the recommendations of the first roundtable and today we are waiting for more recommendations that shall make UAE’s ports one of the prominent ports in the world.”

The roundtable, with the theme of “To what extent do the UAE ports meet the current demands of the shipping industry?”, was held under the patronage of the Federal Transport Authority for Land and Maritime (FTA), Tactics Maritime Media and Marasi News.
 
The event brought together prominent UAE maritime leaders from private and government sectors who discussed the status of the UAE maritime industry and the main obstacles that are facing ship-owners and marine services companies in dealing with ports in the UAE and what are the issues hindering raising the UAE flag on the vessels owned by Emirati companies and businessmen.

The roundtable’s participants came up with effective solutions that will be presented to the concerned authorities to take the necessary actions in order to drive the UAE’s ports towards innovation and efficiency.

Dr Al Nuaimi said: “Today, we are celebrating the achievements of our utmost efforts to maintain our country’s prosperity and progress in the maritime sector. The UAE ports have been ranked as being the largest and pre-eminent ports worldwide. Moreover, we are ranked amongst the world’s top five maritime hubs and we are keen on becoming the core of the maritime sector located at the new Silk Road.”

“That’s why we have carried on our founding fathers legacy to enhance and develop the UAE’s ports infrastructure to become one of the preferred destinations for ships and shipping lines,” he said.

Engineer Hessa Al Malek, executive director of Maritime Transport at FTA, said: “During the first roundtable, we tackled a number of issues and came up with recommendations that shall satisfy the maritime sector needs in the UAE in order to reinforce UAE’s position as a preferable destination for maritime investment.”

“After that, we have submitted these recommendations to the governments and they have responded immediately by issuing a number of decisions. I would like to take the opportunity and extend deep gratitude and appreciation to our wise leadership for supporting the maritime sector and abolish obstacles facing maritime companies,” he added.

The FTA has issued a number of decisions in response to the first Maritime Leaders Roundtable recommendations. These decisions cover a number of aspects, including drafting of a new maritime investment law that is different from the trade law, taking into account the dynamics and specifics of the maritime industry.

In June, the FTA joined the Convention of Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention). This will facilitate all procedures related to maritime investment.

Regarding shipowners requests to abolish the requirements of the navigational licensing certificates that significantly hinder ship owners in the UAE and is an obstacle for foreign vessels wishing to enter the UAE territorial waters for maintenance or other services such as marine classification, a decision was made in July stating that a letter from the port is enough instead of prolonged contracts.

Khamis Buamim, board member, group CEO and managing director of Gulf Navigation Holding, said: “The UAE’s strategic location makes it an ideal hub for shipping and logistic services and our ports can provide integrated services that shall add value to the national economy as a whole. With the changes in the future of trade and ports, we need to absorb newly established companies through incubator centres that shall open up employment opportunities, promote more sustainable economy, stimulates innovation and attract expertise who will discuss the issues in the sector that will turn into challenges to the business. We need to use the competitive advantages of each port to support the overall marine sector and allow us to take the lead globally.”

Engineer Ali Al Suwaidi, general manager of Dubai Maritime City, said: “Port management entities should invest in the opportunities offered by the ‘UAE Maritime Cluster’, which has an exceptional competitive value by itself, that is not available in any other places. Moreover and by enhancing cooperation and exchange of data between ports, the UAE will become the preferred destination for global shipping lines.”

Regarding the development of the UAE’s ports infrastructure, Geir Fuglerud, maritime area manager, Middle East and Africa (MEA), said: “The UAE ports and marine facilities are known for being advanced which puts the UAE ahead in this field. However, constant development is needed to ensure that UAE keeps its leading position amongst the top countries with advanced ports located on the new Silk Road.

“I believe that the UAE should start taking progressive steps to equip its ports and marine facilities with advanced technology needed for several fields; such as conducting and facilitating inspection services by using smart drones in addition to establishing infrastructure for LNG bunkering,” he added.

Regarding raising the UAE’s Flag of Convenience on the ships owned by Emirati companies and businessmen, Suha Obaid, deputy CEO, Folk Shipping, said: “Raising the UAE’s Flag of Convenience on the ships owned by Emirati companies and businessmen is considered as a commitment towards raising the UAE’s position and enhance its presence globally based on the size of its fleet.

“However, this commitment is putting a huge financial and operational burdens. We request revising all these procedures and treat seafarers like the normal employees working in offices and lives at their homes. In addition to establish a new structure to raise the national flag on the UAE’s ships, in order to make this flag more attractive to shipowners, so that the UAE’s actual fleet is equivalent to the fleet that raises its flag,” he added. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: | UAE | law | Maritime | sector |

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