Talal Al Hashimi, Managing Director of Economic Zones World
Jafza officials taking part in the recent Customer Strategic Forum have called for the establishment of working groups representing the large industries based in the free zone to collectively address operational issues and make strategic recommendations to boost growth.
The forum, the third in a series of industry events initiated by Jafza to accelerate strategic communication with its key sectors, was specifically aimed at customers in the automotive and auto spare parts industry in the Free Zone. The first two forums were held for its clients in the Logistics and the Chemical, Oil and Gas sectors.
Talal Al Hashimi, Managing Director of Economic Zones World, UAE Region, participated in the Strategic Forum along with senior officials and Jafza partners including Dubai Customs, DP World, Environment Health and Safety (EHS) Department, and Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry. They collectively addressed queries and suggestions to improve operations and free zone effectiveness.
High level industry representatives also attended the forum, including from Honda Gulf, Scania, Al Futtaim Logistics, Mitsubishi Motors, GM, Michelin, Daimler, Nissan, Ford, Caterpillar, Mobis and Hellmann Worldwide Logistics among others.
The automotive sector in Jafza comprises of more than 500 companies, including those specialising in car products like tyres & tubes, workshop equipment, batteries, parts & systems, repair & maintenance and accessories.
Mr. Al Hashimi said: “This Strategic Forum gave us an opportunity to engage with the top players in the industry to address issues, find solutions and set a strategic direction for the future. We are also looking into establishing working groups for different industries in Jafza. Different companies in Jafza may have similar concerns and ideas, and it is important to give them a platform for proper expression of their views, especially those relevant to large parts of Jafza’s industrial community. The automotive industry is an important contributor and has registered a double-digit growth in trade in the first quarter of 2011, making us optimistic about the year ahead. We will continue to host similar events to boost the growth of the industry on a regular basis.”
Mr. Omar Bin Hendi, VP Customer Relations, Economic Zones World, led and moderated the discussions at the Forum. He said: “The interactive session focused on market trends and business approaches that Jafza could adopt to help the automotive sector and the free zone grow together further. Issues pertaining to regulations, customs, licensing, storage and transportation, in addition to Jafza’s proposal for the establishment of working groups were discussed.”
The GCC automotive market is quite resilient and is expected to witness a robust growth in the coming years. According to a recent report published by Globaltrade.net, Saudi Arabia, which is the largest automobile market in the Arabian Gulf region, is expected to see an average yearly growth of more than 10% in the coming three years. Auto industry experts have forecasted car sales would grow to $19 billion in 2010 and swell to $25 billion by 2013,” the report said. The luxury car market in the Kingdom in particular and the region in general is projected to grow in double digit between 2010 and 2013. Industry sources reveal that luxury cars sales have been steadily increasing by about 27% every year. There is also an increasing demand for high quality auto accessories such as alloy wheels, audio and video systems, wheels, and other internal and external accessories,the same report further added.
The UAE automotive market is expected to experience strong growth as the demand for automobiles and related products increases as found in a recent study by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Total auto sales are expected to expand significantly registering a compounded average growth rate of about 8% during 2010 to 2014; while total re-exports are expected to increase at a CAGR of 5% in the same period.
According to a recent Reuters report based on JD Power and Associates research, global auto sales are expected to hit an all-time high in 2011, with total light vehicle sales of 76.5 million units, up from last years' record 72 million. The main driver behind the trend is China, along with other emerging markets such as India and Brazil. For the first time, emerging automotive markets accounted for more than half of all global light vehicle sales in 2010, clearly indicating the shift of power in the global automotive market.
After the collapse in sales in the crisis year of 2009, demand for heavy trucks increased with varying growth rates across the world in 2010. China, India and Brazil even reported new records. Global truck sales soared by 51% to a total of 1.8 million vehicles last year. Jafza’s automotive community aims to capitalize on this optimistic outlook by focusing on ways to sustain and drive growth.