It's boom time for the UAE logistics industry with more and more Chinese companies set to invest over $4 billion in development of giant logistics parks in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, said a top official of National Association of Freight and Logistics (NAFL).
Founded in Dubai in 1992, NAFL is the first national association of freight forwarders to be established in the Arabian Gulf to bring together the increasing number of freight and logistics service providers in the UAE.
"Logistics business is in for a boom. Many projects are being built for Expo 2020 and Chinese investors are coming to Abu Dhabi and Dubai," remarked Nadia Abdul Aziz, president, NAFL and vice president, Global Extended Board, the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA).
She was addressing NAFL members during its annual general meeting at Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa.
"There will be large logistics parks in Jebel Ali and one near the Expo venue. One is for food processing and the other is for manufacturing and exporting. There will be $4 billion investment by Chinese companies," she stated.
Abu Dhabi will also have a huge logistics project that will boost the trading sector in the UAE, she added.
Speaking at the gathering, Abdul Aziz said the government was working to attract foreigners to come and invest, manufacture and export in order to boost trade which is contributing 30 per cent to Dubai’s GDP.
She expressed her deep appreciation to Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, president of Dubai Airports, chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, for his guidance and continuous support to the NAFL for realising its vision and and goals.
“NAFL continues to build government relations to always promote the industry and assist investors to come and invest in the UAE. More importantly, the Association’s mission is to raise the logistics service industry standards in the UAE,” stated Abdul Aziz.
“We are working to raise the industry standards, by training, networking, solving industry issues, by looking at opportunities to help the members, and by building platform for the members to market their companies. We also represent the UAE in international events and attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to the country,” she added.
According to her, NAFL’s strategy was to encourage young students to join this growing sector.
"In line with the UAE strategy, we will have sharper focus on empowering and training UAE nationals in this sector. As part of it, the association offers scholarships for UAE nationals in the freight industry courses. The government is spending heavily on logistics and infrastructure sectors which have seen the second largest job growth after tourism," she stated.
On the industry, Abdul Aziz said there was consolidation taking place in the logistics industry in the UAE, more e-commerce movements and distribution.
“There are people buying companies, and joint ventures are taking place among shipping lines and freight forwarding companies,” she added.
Abdul Aziz advised NAFL members to avail the facilities offered by the UAE government offices and also by Dubai South, the 145-sq-km purpose-built city that includes Al Maktoum International Airport.
Andrea Colo, sales manager, Dubai South, who addressed NAFL members, highlighted the incentives and packages being offered to logistics companies in the UAE and to the Association's members.
"We are offering an office space, admeasuring 60 sq m, to operate from there and offering dual licensing, a facility to register a free zone company without any local sponsor," said Colo.
"If they have a mainland company they can operate from the free zone, which means they need not have two companies. There is the possibility to combine all together under one roof, thus cutting the cost of running two companies," he stated.
“We are also offering three months grace period on the first year rent, which is almost 25 per cent discount. The rent can be paid in four instalments,” he added.
Roula Mezher, representative of Lebanese Forwarders Syndicate, said there is lot of business and trade between the UAE and Lebanon.
She also called upon NAFL members to use Beirut as their hub to grab reconstruction business in Syria and Iraq. This business can be handled from the UAE as well as Lebanon in terms of logistics.
Mezher also offered incentives to NAFL members to participate in the forthcoming international logistics conference RAME (Region Africa Middle East) 2019 in Beirut, including a 20 per cent discount in ticket prices on Middle East Airlines (MEA) to the Lebanese capital.-TradeArabia News Service