Dubai Maritime City is pushing to be fully operational by 2012 and is already ahead of schedule. Chief marketing officer, Nawfal Al-Jourani explains how the company is quickly becoming a global community maritime industry.
How has Dubai Maritime City developed since its launch?
We are currently in our third phase of development of Dubai Maritime City (DMC), which comprises of six clusters; the Marina District, the Industrial Precinct, Dubai Maritime City Campus, the Maritime Centre, Harbour Offices and Harbour Residences.
The slowdown has affected some future projects but we are agile enough to address these challenges.
The industrial precinct, which has a capacity to hold 6000 tonnes, the largest in the Middle East region, is 85% complete and will be fully operational in 2010, way ahead of schedule and we have the Dubai Maritime Authority which acts as a regulatory body for the industry.
We have completed infrastructure of the software side of the whole business, which holds the maritime centre and the Academic Quarter. We have sold residential areas and office towers to private developers and there are now 58 marinas that will be home for more than 1200 berths.
Furthermore, we received an infrastructure award at Lloyd's List Shipping Awards 2008 for being a unique development for the benefit of the maritime community.
What makes DMC different from other maritime projects developing in the Middle East?
We have succeeded in positioning ourselves as a safe haven to do business. The purpose-built 2.27 million m2 Maritime Centre, for example, is dedicated to providing 360 degrees of all things maritime and will offer essential services to the industry. DMC is a member of the Dubai World group of companies, which also comprises of DP World and Dubai Drydocks.
The presence of these global players gives us an edge and I think other business districts will look up to us as a centre of excellence. Dubai has a rich maritime heritage and we can provide maritime companies with the opportunity to set up home in a place essential to the Middle East.
We also provide companies with countless free zone and tax-free benefits and we will continue to focus on that. Our superb strategic location makes us attractive to the maritime industry, but we also encourage competition because that is what makes businesses successful.
What does DMC offer in terms of training and development?
We are aware that the industry is suffering from a lack of skills, so we have launched the Dubai Maritime Campus, which encourages various universities and institutions working in the educational side of the maritime industry to do business.
The new Emirates International Maritime Academy (EIMA) has also signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Malaysia's Sribima Maritime Training Centre (SMTC) Global to establish an off-shore safety training centre.
EIMA already offers various courses from entry level all the way to a full PHD and this training centre will strengthen its position even further. We are not just offering the world buildings but a maritime cluster where people can set up base and take advantage of opportunities to improve their standards.
There has been a slowdown of engineering in the Middle East because of the economic crisis. Will this cause delays to construction?
We have a saying; a certain catastrophe for one person is a benefit to another. And, in terms of DMC's construction, we are still looking at 2012. The slowdown has affected some of the future projects but we are agile enough to address these challenges.
There has also been a reduction to construction costs since the crisis and this has enabled us to add extra quality to our development.
What can the industry expect from DMC in 2009?
We recently launched the Maritime Centre, the business capital of DMC, during Posidonia, the world's biggest maritime industry event, in Greece and showcased DMC at the Seatrade Middle East Maritime convention in Dubai.
Demand for our services is overwhelming and the big players from the maritime world are with us, but we are also open to new businesses.
Across the years, the leaders of Dubai have realised the importance of the maritime sector and this is why there has been an investment to make sure infrastructure and all the components that support the industry available at DMC. We wish to continue in constructing this community to meet the needs of the industry.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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