UAE launches maritime cluster to boost domestic shipping sector

United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure has launched the UAE Maritime Cluster to be an umbrella for the local and federal government and private organisations in the maritime sector.

Suhail Al Mazrouei. Courtesy of Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure in the UAE

As explained, the move aims to promote the UAE’s maritime sector globally.

It also supports the ministry’s role in building alternative economic components to the oil sector, supporting its strategy to be a key contributor to the ‘Projects of the 50’ initiatives — a series of developmental and economic projects that aim to accelerate the country’s development.

The cluster brings together organisations and individuals in the sector and unites the capabilities of the UAE maritime sector with an aim to enhance the UAE’s position globally as one of the top five global maritime hubs.

Specifically, in order launch the cluster, the ministry will build a communication network consisting of the various entities in the maritime sector. This will act as a platform for launching activities and events that the UAE Maritime Cluster will implement. It will also be a knowledge hub for external maritime authorities around the world to learn about the opportunities available in the maritime industry and invest in the UAE’s blue economy.

“We will unify the UAE maritime sector by launching the UAE Maritime Cluster, which will be a platform that integrates the capabilities of the various entities and organisations, whether federal, local or from the private sector,” Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure in the UAE, commented.

Suhail Al Mazrouei. Courtesy of Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure in the UAE

“The cluster will enhance their performance by bringing together the competencies and experiences of professionals and experts working in the UAE’s maritime sector… This will build a giant think tank and a portfolio for the national maritime capabilities, to create new opportunities for the development of the maritime sector.”

“This cluster is one of our key initiatives that will contribute to our preparations for the next 50 years, ensuring the growth of the maritime sector that significantly contributes to the UAE’s GDP. Currently, the sector is estimated at around AED 91 billion annually. We look forward to doubling this figure within a few years by building bridges to integrate the various organisations and stakeholders involved,” Mazrouei added.

He further informed that the UAE has several major investment arms that are engaged in developing ports and operating terminals in more than 70 countries around the world as well as managing ships and maritime fleets. The UAE’s fleet ranks 21st globally in terms of tonnage capacity.

“Launching the UAE Maritime Cluster is an indispensable step as we prepare the UAE’s candidacy for its Category-B membership at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for the third time. The UAE is home to the regional headquarters of many international maritime companies and organisations… It would be very useful to have an overall comprehensive national platform that brings together all the influential players in the maritime sector,” Hessa Al Malek, Advisor to the Minister for Maritime Transport Affairs, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, said.

Integrated UAE Maritime Cluster

The UAE Maritime Cluster will feature a portal with a centralised database of entities within the maritime sector as well as a network of maritime organisations and professionals in the UAE, according to the ministry.

It will also organise events, conferences and panel discussions to bring together the government and private sectors to discuss ideas, advance the maritime sector and help formulate the maritime strategy for the next 50 years.

A central think tank will be launched to explore investment opportunities and innovative maritime projects as a result of unifying the efforts and ideas of maritime organisations in the UAE.

The UAE Maritime Cluster will also include a business incubator to support young entrepreneurs and a platform for research and fevelopment (R&D) that brings together the academic and scientific competencies of the academic sector in the UAE and the Arab region. Several accelerators will also stimulate the generation of innovative ideas and turn them into strategic maritime projects.