By Andy Sambidge
UAE region's MD Mohammed Al Muallem says industry needs to pull together to meet challenges
The global shipping and ports industry needs to pull together to meet ever-changing challenges even as it continues to recover from the effects of the financial crisis, according to a senior DP World official.
Mohammed Al Muallem, senior vice president and managing director, DP World, UAE region, said there was a "continuing need for caution" because of many uncertainties still facing the industry.
In his opening address to the Middle East Liner Shipping Conference 2011, he added: "Several issues including rising fuel and charter costs, political instability and piracy are affecting trade and the cost of shipping. It is in the interest of the industry to come together to find new cost-effective solutions to overcome these challenges."
The focus of the two-day event attended by scores of top industry leaders was on some of the key areas shaping the Middle East liner industry, such as cargo growth, regional hub competition, the role of free zones and supply chain security.
Al Muallem claimed the Middle East's economy had "come back steadily" from the impact of the global financial crisis and was now "even better than expected".
Earlier this month, Sir John Parker, joint vice chairman, DP World, said maritime piracy was an "urgent global priority" that has no quick-fix answers but demanded cross-border co-operation between governments and industry.
Addressing a ceremony in London, where a new DP World-sponsored Countering Piracy award was initiated, Parker said piracy cost the shipping industry up to $12bn a year.
He said around 800 mariners were currently held in captivity, many for months.