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Dubai Maritime Authority exercises expanded mandate

Informa Markets DMA's Adel Kalantar on stage at SMLME 2023
Dubai Maritime Authority has launched a directive to improve transparency in the Dubai container market after receiving an expanded mandate earlier this year.

Speaking at Seatrade Maritime Logistics Middle East, Adel Kalantar, Director of Maritime Business Development Department at Dubai Maritime Authority of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation said the new scope for DMA was enshrined in Law 3 2023 in February.

“The new law grants DMA enhanced responsibilities for regulation of the maritime sector in the emirate of Dubai as well as control of maritime safety in the emirate of Dubai,” said Kalantar.

Since the law was published in February 2023, DMA has worked to explain its role to the industry and strengthen its relationships within the sector, said Kalantar. The partnership programme launched by DMA had been a success, as had a series of educational webinars hosted by DMA. The autority also carried out an industry-wide consultation and survey of businesses to shape the authority’s future direction and focus.

The survey found that 95% of businesses supported the new mandate of DMA and recognised the value it would bring to the sector.

“They ranked safety, operations and regulation as the three most important areas to focus on to strengthen the sector. Interestingly they see the cost of doing business and lack of co-ordination between entities as the two greatest challenges facing the maritime sector in Dubai,” said Kalantar.

Less than half of respondents said business was sufficiently easy to undertake, highlighting a need to simplify costs, services and processes for customers.

Transparency was a focus of business, with 95% of companies supporting the introduction of international best practices to increase transparency, competition and fair pricing.

As a first step towards increasing transparency, DMA launched directive one, addressing the transparency of local sea containers in Dubai and mandating the reporting of standard sea container charges and related terminology.

“This important move aims to provide us with a clear understanding of local sea container charges and associated practices. This directive is in line with the highest international standards… all parties have until the end of this month to comply,” said Kalantar.

Two weeks since the launch of the directive, Kalantar said over 600 professionals had received training on its contents.

Operators are free to charge existing rates to customers, but their standard rate is frozen until further notice while DMA undertakes analysis of the data received.

“I think it is important for us to reflect on what the directive will achieve and the significant benefits it will bring. Firstly, it will provide DMA with a clear, data-led understanding of local container charges and association practices. Secondly, it will allow us to align how we operate with the highest international standards and best practices. Finally, it will enhance transparency and agility, in addition to ensuring attractiveness and ease of doing business.

“The benefits will be significant and they will combine to create a strong sector, they will enhance our ability to compete internationally,” said Kalantar.