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Abdulla Bin Damithan, chief commercial officer of DP World

India, China and Africa offer growth potential for UAE ports sector

The UAE’s maritime sector stands to benefit from the country’s growing trade with India, China and Africa, Salem Al Zaabi, director general of the UAE Federal Transport Authority – Land and Maritime, told the Dubai Maritime Agenda today.

At the conference, the opening event of UAE Maritime Week, Al Zaabi said the UAE is already an important trade partner for India, China and Africa, but as economic ties become even closer there will be more opportunities for the maritime sector.

In August, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his third visit to the UAE in four years. Bilateral trade between the countries reached $60bn in the 2018/19 financial year and there is huge potential for this figure to grow further on the back of Modi’s plans to turn India into a $5trn economy by 2025.

Abdulla Bin Damithan, chief commercial officer of ports operator DP World, told the Dubai Maritime Agenda that DP World’s investments in India include about five terminals, seven inland container depots and five sea vessels.

He said the company is also investing in freezone warehouse facilities integrated with rail logistics. Bin Damithan added that DP World aims to be a one-stop shop for Indian exporters and it recently launched the India-UAE bridge initiative, which positions its flagship Jebel Ali Port in Dubai as a gateway to the world for India.

Africa is also a strategic focus for DP World, with investments already made in the north and east of the continent and more projects under consideration.

Looking at China, Bin Damithan explained that Jebel Ali Port earlier this year secured an important position in Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative thanks to the launch of the $3.4bn Chinese-backed Traders Market and Vegetable Basket projects in Dubai.

The former will see Chinese products stored in Dubai and shipped to the world from Jebel Ali, while the latter will support the importing, processing, packing and exporting of agricultural, marine and animal products through the New Silk Road.

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