Since the FFZA is the main licensing authority for offshore and mainland business establishments, how do you benefit business owners in the country?
Given Fujairah’s status as the largest bunkering hub in the world, the FFZA is aware of the importance which it plays in its overall economic contributions to the UAE. However, our licensing capabilities also extend to a multitude of businesses unrelated to this sector. Granting businesses and companies the necessary licenses they need to establish themselves within the country offers them both credibility and the ability to seamlessly conduct business. Moreover, FFZA’s conveniently location and adjacent position to the Port of Fujairah provides companies that are established within the vicinity, easy access to all Arabian Gulf ports and key trade routes. This offers the perfect pathway for any maritime establishment.
In addition to the FFZA’s unique geographic positioning, we also serve as unique connective logistic link to the world through a variety of mediums. This includes air transit through the Fujairah International Airport, by water through the Fujairah Sea Port, and by land to Middle East & beyond. With all of these outlets available to investors, the benefits equal shorter delivery times and increased opportunity to engage in more business.
In regards to maritime, how do you perceive the industry’s current landscape?
Innovation and technology are the main pillars of the maritime growth in the UAE. However, we believe in the power of adapting an effective traditional mode of conduct. While we understand the importance of following the latest trends and technologies in the sector – especially digital transport – we believe that traditional trade business is still relevant.
While shipping has dramatically transformed over past centuries, manufacturing machineries are still applicable and vital to the maritime industry and all other industries as well. A balance needs to be established between technology and traditional trade. While appreciating innovation and technology, understanding that the traditional mode of transportation is still valid will contribute to fostering a prosperous business market.
What is FFZA’s opinion regarding IMO2020, and how do you anticipate these regulations will impact trade?
IMO2020 is an essential set of regulations which needs to be adapted by all maritime key players for the sake of the environment. Ship-owners and maritime offshore businessmen need to understand the significance of complying with these regulations even it requires them to re-build their vessels or rescrub their assets to be equipped to the change and adhere to the sulfur cap regulation. It is a good change towards a cleaner energy future and we are in strong favor of the market preparing and making the necessary changes to their fleets.
What does the future of maritime hold?
The industry has been facing a tough period for the past four years or so; with numerous geopolitical and financial instabilities. However, we are still optimistic about the future. The UAE is becoming a leading country in the maritime industry; and with our ports connecting mariners to the rest of the Arab world, it is becoming easier for ship owners to choose to operate in the UAE. The country can pride itself in having the largest port in the MENA region and the most productive harbor in the world. The maritime and shipping sector is thus subject to huge investments and growth due to a combination of increasing trade and Dubai's vision of becoming a leading global player in the sector.
To cope with the rising foreign trade, the UAE is investing in building and expanding seaports, airports, free zones and logistics. According to the Dubai Council for Marine and Maritime Industries, the total UAE maritime industry is worth more than USD 61bn. So, the future is looking optimistic despite the current obstacles and challenges.