UAE – His Excellency (H.E) Dr. Eng. Abdullah Salem Al Kathiri, Director General of the Federal Authority for Land and Marine Transport (FTA), showcased the UAE’s major contributions towards promoting the international maritime system and highlighted its active role in implementing the conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and driving more growth in the maritime sector locally, regionally and globally during the IMO’s ongoing 30th General Assembly in London.
During a reception organized by FTA, H.E. Dr. Al Kathiri reviewed the UAE’s candidacy for Category B membership under the IMO Council for international delegates. He explained that the bid is supported by the UAE’s leading position on the international maritime map, especially its unprecedented achievements in port development. The country ranks first regionally and in the Arab world and third internationally in the quality of maritime port infrastructure and sixth in terms of maritime port infrastructure in the relevant competitiveness index for 2014-2015.
He pointed out that the UAE’s maritime transport sector has witnessed remarkable development in terms of ports and their operations and maintenance; shipbuilding; dry docking; and maritime financing and insurance in accordance with international standards on maritime safety, security, and the protection of the marine environment.
H.E. added that the local maritime sector has become a major contributor to the diversification of the national economy and a key driver of comprehensive and sustainable development, thanks largely to the vision of the wise leadership and the directives of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make the UAE one of the most advanced and developed countries in the world.
Commenting on the UAE’s candidacy for IMO Council membership, H.E. said: “The UAE boasts of outstanding capabilities that can compete with the most advanced countries in the maritime industry. We deserve to be a Category B member of the International Maritime Organization Council, alongside 10 other member states with large interests in global maritime trade. The UAE has been a member of the IMO since 1980 and has made valuable contributions towards the development and implementation of standards for regulating shipping policy. The UAE seeks to add more value to international trade, transport and shipping through its bid to become an IMO Council member. It will continue to support the development of the international maritime system, while offering an ideal maritime platform for freely doing business with the Gulf states, East Africa and the Indian Subcontinent, and providing a gateway to directly access leading markets in Europe and Asia.”
Over the last few decades, the UAE has managed to establish itself as a leading player in the global maritime sector. The sector is supported by modern infrastructure including 20 world-class ports, enabling the country to acquire the largest share of the total volume of container and cargo handling in the region at 60 per cent, in addition to a number of major shipyards and yacht factories. The country ranks sixth in terms of seaport infrastructure according to the World Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum in 2017 and manages and operates 77 ports in the world, including vital ports in the United States and Europe.
H.E. said, “The UAE is fully qualified for IMO Category B membership and is backed with the advantages offered by the local ports and its leading position in the world. In fact, Khalifa Port was third in terms of productivity in 2015, while Jebel Ali Port is the 9th largest container port worldwide and Fujairah Port is one of the world’s three largest bunkering ports. UAE ports are among the top 10 container ports in the world, supported by the country’s strategic geographic location situated along some of the busiest trade routes in the world. Being a Category B member of the Council will enable us to use our expertise, unprecedented achievements and competitive advantages to promote the global maritime community.”
The UAE is working steadily to promote the growth and sustainability of the local maritime sector as part of preparations to host Expo Dubai 2020, which will open huge opportunities to stimulate maritime transport and shipping. International maritime events play key roles in enhancing the position of the UAE as a center for global maritime economy, as reflected by its successful experience in hosting prestigious international conferences such as UAE Maritime Week, the Dubai Maritime Summit, the Abu Dhabi Maritime Summit, and the Abu Dhabi Summit of Global Marine and Maritime Leaders.
Nationwide efforts continue to increase the UAE’s contributions to the international maritime sector. These include additional investments in technology and innovation with a focus on the latest smart technologies such as ‘autonomous vessels’ and the ‘Internet of Things,’ as well as the adoption of best practices that support environmental sustainability and security.
H.E. Dr. Al Nuaimi is participating in the 30th Ordinary General Meeting of the International Maritime Organization as the head of a high-level delegation, which includes His Excellency (H.E) Dr. Eng. Abdullah Salem Al Kathiri, Director General of the Federal Authority for Land and Marine Transport (FTA), members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ports, local maritime authorities and the supporting team.