At a time of growing regional competition, DMCA is focusing its efforts on streamlining processes to make Dubai an investment-friendly and attractive environment for maritime companies from all over the world and the number one choice for companies looking to base themselves in the region.
“We aim to provide the best marine services and develop them on the basis of innovation and intelligent transformation,” says Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman of DMCA. “We are simplifying, accelerating, and facilitating government services.”
Earlier in 2018, DMCA rolled out a new digital payment and services portal, which it hopes will enable it to process transactions and queries more speedily and efficiently, and reduce the number of visits to its customer service centres by 80% by the end of the year. The gateway allows users to track application statuses, verify crew and craft licence validity, as well as deal with penalty objections and payments, among other services.
DMCA’s other main role is building and supporting a vibrant maritime community in Dubai. According to DMCA, Dubai currently hosts more than 5,500 maritime companies and 13,000 maritime activities, which in turn support more than 76,000 jobs. The authority regularly hosts workshops and training programmes and collaborative meetings between the private sector and key government bodies involved in the maritime industry.
As part of efforts to encourage knowledge-sharing and innovation in the sector, over the past year it has launched the Dubai Maritime Virtual Cluster, the Maritime Innovation Lab and Innovation Quay.
“We have launched initiatives designed to improve the local maritime infrastructure, enacted new key regulations, adopted the best international practices, and forged important local, regional, and global partnerships,” says Bin Sulayem.
DMCA’s activities are shaped by the Maritime Sector Strategy, drawn up by the authority a few years ago. “Enhancing maritime services, operations, and logistics services in Dubai is part and parcel of our strategy,” says Bin Sulayem. “We make this possible by promoting excellence, quality, and inclusiveness across key indicators such as shipping services, maritime legal expertise, and maritime insurance, to name a few.
“We will continue to develop and implement strategic initiatives centered on nurturing a maritime environment that attracts leaders of maritime industries all over the world. We will also consistently provide all the necessary legislative and infrastructure to enhance the components of the maritime cluster, especially shipping, ports, maritime engineering, training and maritime support services. These components collectively form a strong foundation for maximising the contributions of the maritime sector to the local economy.”
The maritime sector currently contributes about 7% of Dubai’s gross domestic product, equivalent to AED26.9bn ($7.3bn). The government hopes to significantly increase this proportion by 2030, although no concrete target has been made public. Norwegian consultancy, Menon has predicted that Dubai could become the seventh leading maritime capital by 2020, displacing some of today’s established centres.