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Sun 23 Jan 2011 12:00 AM

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Positive signs for the industry’s future

Ask a thousand people to predict the future of Middle East logistics and you’ll probably receive a thousand different answers.

Positive signs for the industry’s future
Positive signs for the industry’s future

Ask a thousand people to predict the future of Middle East logistics and you’ll probably receive a
thousand different answers. Everyone has their own viewpoint and that was the
beauty of our inaugural Leaders in Logistics conference, held at the Westin
Hotel in Dubai
last month. The event provided a unique opportunity for industry figureheads
from across the region to share their insight and debate with peers on the
opportunities and challenges of 2011.

Thankfully, after much turbulence over
the past couple of years, the general mood is a lot more positive, and as our
keynote speaker Fathi Buhazza from Maximus Air Cargo stated, our political
leadership has created an environment that is “ripe for
a healthy future”.

I’m sure the folk at Dubai World Central would agree with
this sentiment, especially after their research has indicated that over 80% of
companies in Dubai
will develop their supply chain operations this year. While this is a
staggering amount – and some would argue a little too optimistic – our news
pages in this month’s issue are filled with stories to support the claim, from
the expansion of CEVA Logistics warehousing in Jebel Ali Free Zone, to the
relocation of Kuehne + Nagel’s regional headquarters to Dubai Logistics City.

Although statistics are harder to find for neighbouring
emirates, Abu Dhabi
is expected to main its position as one to watch in 2011, with progress being
made on a number of large-scale developments. This includes the start of construction
at Waha Land’s much awaited Almarkaz
development, together with the launch of Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi
(Kizad) by Abu Dhabi Ports Company. The scope of both projects is immense and
Kizad alone will make a contribution of 15% to Abu Dhabi’s non-oil GDP, according to
estimates.

Does this mean an industry boom will return to the Middle East? Maybe not to the extent of past years, but
all signs are pointing to more sustainable growth levels, which most in the
regional industry will welcome with open arms.

Robeel Haq, is the senior group editor of Logistics Middle
East.

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