Piracy mires ME shipping sector

Published April 3rd, 2012 - 06:50 GMT
The shipping business in general now has to address growing piracy threats
The shipping business in general now has to address growing piracy threats

Piracy threats pose major challenges to the global shipping industry, a top UAE government official said. "While globalisation has opened up new trade routes, increased volume of trade and elevated the global role that ports play, there are several challenges that the industry faces today," Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, said yesterday.

The minister called for concerted and collective efforts to solve piracy at sea, which is a burden for the shipping industry. "The shipping business in general now has to address growing piracy threats. There are regional concerns too, especially those relating to the potential closure of shipping routes," Al Mansouri said, hinting at Iran's threats to close the Strait of Hormuz if attacked. He added that these concerns have international implications and must be addressed in the spirit of cooperation and dialogue. Meanwhile, the UAE remains one of the world's top 20 exporters of merchandise by value, as well as in imports of containerised cargo.

Dubai ports in top 10

Speaking at the opening of the second World Ports and Trade Summit, Al Mansouri quoted the World Shipping Council, saying that two of the world's top 50 container ports are in the UAE, with Dubai featuring among the top 10. "Of the 35 ports in the GCC, Port Rashid, Port Zayed and Khalifa Port have accounted for nearly 59 per cent of the volume in the region." He cited the massive investment in port infrastructure in Abu Dhabi as an example of the UAE's commitment to strengthen its competence in ports and shipping.

"When the construction of the first phase of the Khalifa Port is completed in the fourth quarter of this year, it will have an initial capacity to handle two million TEUs of container traffic and 12 million tonnes of general cargo annually, making it a strong destination port," Al Mansouri said.

The minister added, "By 2030, Khalifa Port will have the capacity to handle 15 million TEUs and 35 million tonnes of general cargo." He added that the UAE is also using its expertise to develop ports globally.

"The London Gateway project by DP World is an example of how the country is extending its expertise in developing container ports globally," Al Mansouri said.

The summit was inaugurated by Shaikh Hamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, on behalf of General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

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