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Maritime and Shipping

The UAE can pride itself of 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.

Dubai has a strategically good location offering port service for emerging markets in the region and routes connecting to the rest of the world. the maritime and shipping sector is generating more than 75,000 jobs and 75% of these jobs are within engineering, port and shipping accounting (Oxford Business Group, Dubai Maritime Industry, 2015). The increasing foreign trade creates growth in shipping and makes seaports and maritime solutions essential. The UAE government is therefore investing in the sector and has introduced several initiatives to attract leading companies within the marine and maritime sectors (e.g. companies operating with cargo shipping, shipbuilding and repairs, brokerage, insurance and ship ownership).

Future growth and investments
After years with slowdown the shipping sector is forecasted growth due to consumer demands, growth in emerging markets in the region serviced by Dubai, and a growing understanding between Iran and the West. The total growth within trade is forecasted to increase 4.8% annually until 2019 which will affect shipping directly (BMI, United Arab Emirates Shipping Report, 2015).

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. Dubai is becoming a serious player in the global maritime industry and the vision is to become a leading player in the field. In 2015 Dubai’s maritime industry adds USD 3.92bn in economic value but is still behind the leading players within the industry: Hong Kong adds USD 11.2bn, Singapore USD 18.5bn and Norway USD 25.9bn.

Dubai Maritime Sector Strategy
The government has introduced several initiatives and strategies to develop and expand the maritime industry. The Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA) established Dubai Maritime Sector Strategy to focus on local maritime clustering and to make the emirate into a leading regional and international maritime centre. The strategy - accompanied by Dubai Maritime Vision 2030 and Dubai Strategic Plan - has long term goals pushing smart and green technology, maintaining high-quality infrastructure and developing local human capital through regulation and licensing (Oxford Business Group, Dubai Maritime Industry, 2015). In 2014 DMCA established Dubai Maritime Arbitration Centre aiming to develop and improve the legal and regulatory environment in the sector. 

Jebel Ali Port: The most productive harbor in the World
Jebel Ali Port in Dubai is the largest port in the MENA region, and is titled as the most productive harbor in the world. In 2014 the port operator posted an 11.7% increase in profit. The port is expanding to meet the future demand and DP World is investing USD 1.6bn in a new terminal that will increase the overall capacity to 22.1 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) by 2018. In line with this Jebel Ali container throughput is expected to grow 4.8% annually until 2019 (BMI, United Arab Emirates Shipping Report, 2015).

Free Zone: Dubai Maritime City
Dubai Maritime City is a free zone focusing on the maritime sector. The district has room for mixed-use real estate development, yacht marinas, and shipbuilding and repairs. Furthermore the district experienced an increase in real estate development in 2014, including office space that will be leased to ship owners, ship management companies and so on (Oxford Business Group, Dubai Maritime Industry, 2015).

In Dubai, more than 20 free zones exist offering business licenses to foreign-owned businesses. Each free zone is designed around one or more business industries and offers comprehensive services for doing business in UAE and company set ups. A company set up in a free zone is attractive, as it offers 100% ownership, tax exemption and office and warehouse facilities. Read more about the Free Zones here.

Commercial Advisor

Mr. Jonas Bruntse

+971 56 533 7562