Dubai Trade, the premier cross-border trade facilitator under Dubai World, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) which will bring about major enhancements to the processing of entry and exit permits for vessels and their crews for the benefit of both, the GDRFA and the trading community.
The agreement will primarily lead to creating the online versions of GDRFA Vessel Entry and Exit Permits on Dubai Trade Portal to fully automate the application process, allowing shipping agents to apply for permits through the portal 24 hours before a vessel’s arrival.
The system will allow online access and trouble-free exchange of unified information on permits between all stakeholders around the clock. This will improve all relevant processes between the concerned parties, leading to higher information accuracy and substantial reduction in time and effort required for the permits. The system will markedly speed up the entry and exit procedures for tens of thousands of vessel crew members who annually access Jebel Ali Port.
Commenting on the MoU, HE Jamal Majid Bin Thaniah, Chairman, Dubai Trade, said: “Dubai Trade has gained a profound experience in the application of technology and best practices for transforming supply chain processes and services into a highly efficient online platform. This allows us to offer innovative, secure and user-friendly solutions for complicated and lengthy government processes and services. We are glad today to put our expertise in the service of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, which has an excellent record in early adoption of technology and customer service best practices. This is a qualitative move, which we hope will open the door for more cooperation in future.”
Praising the technical expertise of Dubai Trade’s team, Major General Ahmed Mohammed Al-Marri, Director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, said: “Dubai Trade Portal ideally meets the objectives we seek in transforming the two key services concerning vessel and crew entry and exit permits. From the operational point of view, it will eliminate the probability of any human error and incomplete data entry by immigration staff, while transferring accountability for information validity to shipping agents. On the customers’ side, we expect greater satisfaction, as they will not need to visit our counters as often, nor spend long time waiting in queues. Overall, this will not only reduce time and effort to obtain the permits for both GDRFA and customers, it will make them available well in advance before a vessel’s arrival.”
In his turn, Eng. Mahmood Al Bastaki, CEO, Dubai Trade, said: “Our cooperation today with GDRFA is the fruit of Dubai Trade’s relentless efforts to streamline all trade-related services in Dubai and make them easily, securely and instantly available online to the trade supply chain community through a single electronic window. Dubai Trade seeks to facilitate trade not only by transforming services into e-services but by resorting to innovation to enhance the whole cross-border trading experience.’
Al Bastaki added: “All information pertinent to the online permits will be made compliant with ISPS (International Ship and Port Facility Security) code and standards, which provide higher security measures, with responsibility shared by all stakeholders. Vessel Rotation information will be validated using DP World systems, with all information sent to Security and Port Operations for their operational purposes.”
The MoU signing ceremony was attended by HE Mohammed Al Muallem, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of DP World, and Brigadier Obaid Muheir bin Surour, GDRFA Deputy Director, along with a number of senior officials.