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Dubai ranks first in Middle East and ninth in world’s top maritime capitals in 2019

10 Apr 2019

Dubai ranks first in Middle East and ninth in world’s top maritime capitals in 2019

Media Office

Dubai continues to achieve global achievements thanks to unwavering support by Dubai's Executive Council
Local maritime sector home to more than 7,400 active companies producing over 13,000 activities and creating 76,000 jobs
Maritime sector contribution to Dubai’s GDP at 7 per cent to AED 26,9 billion

Dubai has moved up in the ranking of the world’s top 10 maritime capitals in 2019, the latest in its string of achievements that has made the emirate a globally competitive maritime hub. The emirate took the 9th spot this year, up from its 10th rank in 2017, according to a recent report issued by Menon Economics and DNV GL, the global organizations that specializes in benchmarking top maritime capitals of the world. The report disclosed today (Wednesday, April 10, 2019) in Singapore, surveyed 200 experts and high-profile officials from leading maritime companies worldwide. Around 40 per cent of the experts were from Europe, 30 per cent from Asia, and 30 per cent from the US, Middle East, and Africa.

 H.E. Sultan Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DP World and Chairman of Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation and Chairman of DMCA, said: “We are delighted to achieve this new global achievement that demonstrates the progress of the maritime sector in Dubai led with a leadership vision for  H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, for his support to the industry and his keen efforts to enable out teams to achieve better results in all areas related to maritime sector. I would also like to thank the DMCA team for its work and dedication to ensure improved local maritime services at all levels.”

 H.E. Bin Sulayem added: “The remarkable progress made by Dubai as one of the world’s best maritime capitals for 2019 is not surprising as it serves as a continuation of the path towards excellence to become number one in the world. DMCA’s focus on research and development (R&D) and innovation to develop integrated logistics programs and advanced infrastructure and legislation is paying off as we ensure the highest standards of efficient maritime operations, occupational safety, and better environmental practices to reach global leadership. We are currently implementing an integrated and impactful portfolio of initiatives to enhance the sector’s competitiveness and guarantee its contributions to the country’s sustainable growth and economic diversification strategy. Promoting innovation, technology, and sustainability has enhanced the international community’s confidence in Dubai. The success of our ambitious plans, supported by our fruitful cooperation with our government and private sector partners makes Dubai and the UAE an influential global force in the maritime industry.”

 H.E. Abdulla Mohammed Al Basti, Secretary General of the Executive Council of Dubai, was not surprised over Dubai’s improved ranking in just over two years, noting that the emirate is moving steadily and confidently towards meeting the highest standards of maritime competitiveness, efficiency, and effectiveness with an aim of increasing industry’s economic share in line with the directives of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council. Additionally, the ongoing local efforts are aimed at implementing the goals of the Maritime Sector Strategy (MSS), which was launched and being implemented by the Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA) to establish Dubai as a world-class maritime center.

 H.E. Al Basti added: “We are proud of this new and important achievement, which inspires us further to join forces and boost our march towards establishing Dubai as a world-class maritime hub with top-notch maritime and logistics services and outstanding operations. We aim to transform Dubai into one of the world's leading maritime centers over the next few years in line with Dubai Plan 2021 Plan.”

 The global report has ranked Dubai as the leading maritime hub in the Middle East, India and Africa, while also being ranked 9th in the world. In line with this, experts expect the emirate to continue in its growth, further consolidating its pivotal role on the global maritime map to become one of the most important and powerful maritime capitals by 2024--reinforcing its strong presence as a major competitor to Hong Kong and major European maritime centers.

 Dubai Silk Road Strategy … Unified efforts

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, has recently launched the DMCA’s Dubai Silk Road Strategy, which is aimed towards enhancing air and sea freight and logistics integration to achieve economic diversification. The move looks to become a cornerstone in the economic diversification efforts, which represents a strong boost to the large investments allocated by the Dubai government over the past decades, including the establishment of ports, airports and free zones. It also involves the promotion of optimal investment in human resources to make the emirate better regionally and globally in the provision of marine services, which is based on the vision to position Dubai as a leading world provider in shipping and logistics services.

 Mutual Maritime legislation to keep pace with the future

Maritime legislations have witnessed a remarkable result in keeping up with the rapid developments on the global maritime map. The efforts to keep pace has resulted in a strong boost towards enhancing the components of the maritime assembly, especially at the ports level, operation, maintenance, shipbuilding, dry dock, finance and insurance in accordance with the international principles of maritime safety, marine environment protection and preservation of maritime security, which enhances  international confidence in the promising opportunities and potentials of Dubai and the UAE. The efforts to implement Executive Council Resolution No. (11) for the year 2013, regarding the issuance of the Executive Board Decision No. (11) of 2013 to issue the Implementing Regulations of Law No. (11) of 2010 for licensing marine crafts in the Emirate of Dubai, including the traditional, commercial, recreational and wooden Maritime tools, has driven in positive results. Supported by integrated legal framework, DMCA is moving towards the path of excellence, which enhances its maritime leadership through its pioneering efforts to ensure that the local maritime cluster complies with IMO standards and to work in line with the Dubai Plan 2021 and its aim to make Dubai a clean city with a sustainable economic growth.

 Marine sector is the driver of GDP growth

Dubai's maritime sector continues to strengthen its pivotal role as one of the five key areas expected to drive in economic diversification. Recent reports show an increase in the number of offshore companies--reaching more than 7,400 in 2018 as compared to 5,500 in 2016 and 6,655 in 2017. There are also currently 13,000 maritime and investment activities that have led to the creation of 76,000 jobs. Last year, the maritime sector witnessed a remarkable boom that helped bring key growth for the country’s GDP, where Dubai’s maritime industry accounted for 7 per cent of the total GDP to AED 26,9 billion—reflecting its essential role in boosting commercial growth for the emirate.

 Dubai: A global destination for leading maritime events

Dubai has succeeded in building a strong presence as an attractive destination for leading maritime events where maritime leaders interact and converge. It has also become a venue for strengthening linkages that support knowledge transfer and exchange of international best practices.

 The DMCA plays a central and influential role in establishing the Emirate's leadership on hosting international events having organized the ‘UAE Maritime Week’, ‘Dubai Maritime Summit’ and ‘UAE Maritime Leaders Seminar’, which are attended by the world’s industry leaders. These events provide a platform for incubating creative ideas and innovative technologies that promote a sustainable global maritime community.

 DMCA is also responsible for supporting and participating in major marine events in Dubai, including the ‘Middle East Bunkering Convention’, ‘Sea Dubai’, ‘Dubai International Boat Show’, ‘International Superyacht Summit’, ‘Marine Money Gulf Ship Finance Forum’ by Marine Money, ‘Breakbulk Middle East’ and ‘Middle East Offshore Conference’ being organized by Offshore Support Journal, among many others.

 Quattro Helix partnerships

To enhance the competitiveness and attractiveness of the maritime community and effectively contribute to economic diversification in line with future needs, the DMCA has adopted a four-pronged model partnership with government, academicians, private sectors and research and development (R&D) institutions.

 DMCA has also launched the ‘Innovation Quay’ as an important initiative to develop marine equipment by tapping on innovative ideas and technological innovations and further serve Dubai’s economic diversification. It provides a single platform for major manufacturers, research institutions and individual creators to conduct field studies and experiments in the latest technological innovations, especially 3D technologies as well as smart and self-driving ships.

 Partnership with the private sector (Maritime Advisory Council)

The Maritime Advisory Council plays a strategic role in linking maritime stakeholders based locally, regionally and internationally. It is a major player in raising the level of confidence of the international investment community in the competitive strengths of the local maritime sector, based on a vision of providing an integrated portfolio of advisory services and creative ideas supporting the objectives of the ‘Dubai Maritime Sector Strategy’ to become the world's leading maritime hub.

 The Rasina Group is one of the initiatives which has effectively promoted the public-private partnership and made valuable contributions to meet the needs of marine tourism and leisure travelers, leveraging Dubai's competitive capabilities, state-of-the-art infrastructure, marine and logistics services as among the best in the world.

 Marine Entertainment Support (Sea Dubai)

The Sea Dubai platform initiative is a significant boost to marine leisure activities, enhancing its role as a vital source of tourism and marine growth in the emirate. This initiative introduces clear frameworks for regulating the operation of marine recreational facilities within local territorial waters. It also accelerates and facilitates the registration and licensing of sailing permits, in cooperation with the public and private sectors.


The Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre (EMAC)

The Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre is another important addition to DMCA’s efforts, as it aims to meet the urgent need for highly-developed regulatory frameworks for maritime arbitration. With the growing global maritime conflicts happening alongside the steady growth of international maritime trade, the center offers a legal system that provides absolute freedom for cases to choose the law of litigation and multiple arbitration mechanisms in accordance with the highest standards of confidentiality, transparency and efficiency, as well as providing a wide range of legal options for resolving disputes related to various maritime business processes.


EMAC further reflects the success of Dubai’s strategic approach in developing an ideal legislative and legal structure for the sector. This aspect is a vital requirement for the maritime sector to keep pace with rapid local, regional and global developments. The Centre provides an integrated framework for resolving disputes arising from maritime commercial transactions, creates a marine environment capable of meeting development needs and emerging trends, enhances the competitiveness of the local maritime sector and cements Dubai’s leadership on the global maritime map in line with the objectives of the ‘Dubai Maritime Sector Strategy’.


Dubai Maritime Innovation Awards … a quality focused initiative

The Dubai Maritime Innovation Awards, which is organized by the DMCA, stands out as a quality focused initiative aimed at honouring important contributions and innovative initiatives that support the local maritime sector’s efforts to achieve growth, development and prosperity and be among the best in the world. The awards reflect the DMCA’s commitment to recognize the pioneering efforts to drive in maritime innovation, which is the cornerstone for the development of the maritime sector that is in line with the requirements of economic diversification and in being at pace with the rapid changes of the twenty-first century.

 Strong partnerships with global maritime clusters

The DMCA has presented valuable contributions to the consolidation of the strategic partnership between Dubai and the world's top maritime clusters by opening new channels of effective dialogue and constructive cooperation, enhancing bridges of modern knowledge transfer and sharing the successful experiences and best practices in research and development, innovation, maritime services and human investment. In fact, the Dubai Maritime Cluster Office has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maritime Cluster of the Panama Maritime Authority, resulting in the opening of a wide range of joint maritime work in the field of research, training, consulting and marketing. The MoU was signed on the side-lines of "UAE Marine Week 2018" during the launch of "Seatrade Maritime Middle East."

 Strong presence internationally

Dubai Maritime City Authority has successfully built a strong presence on the maritime events map, not only locally but also internationally. The UAE’s influential role is not only to organize, support and participate in leading events in the country, it also continues to make valuable contributions, representing Dubai and the UAE internationally, through its strong presence and successful participation at leading maritime events of 2017 and 2018, such as, "Posidonia Exhibition" 2018 in Athens, "SMM Hamburg Exhibition" 2018, "London International Shipping Week" in the UK, "INMEX SMM INDIA 2017 Exhibition" in Mumbai, "Marintec China Exhibition" 2017  in Shanghai and "Nor-Shipping Exhibition" 2017 in Norway.

 Smart transformation ... the march continues

The DMCA is moving steadily on the path towards smart transformation, driven by an integrated package of smart initiatives, including the Dubai Maritime Virtual Cluster, which offers an interactive knowledge and research platform that has been designed to attract foreign investments and promote global maritime best practices, to support the competitiveness of the local maritime cluster. The DMCA Smart App provides a unified smart channel for mobile phones to directly access maritime licensing services and obtaining relevant information quickly and easily, powered by interactive features and integrated services including inquiry services, smart payment, digital license, smart client workspace, maritime library, smart maritime exam and weather forecasts.

 The Customer Happiness Centre​ of DMCA for Smartphones is an important initiative aimed at supporting the Smart Transformation Pathway, contributing to the provision of smart services to the largest possible segment of the local maritime cluster. The centre operates a Smart Maritime Call Center, which represents a quantum leap in the move to reinforce bridges of effective communication with customers, the further promotion of adopting artificial intelligence techniques in the service of the maritime cluster and the upgrading of capabilities of its employees. The Maritime Weather Portal displays interactive information on maritime weather situations. The Smart Platform permits of Sailing has been designed to facilitate a simple and automated procedure in obtaining sailing permits--using state-of-the-art technology to provide easy, fast and reliable services.

 The portfolio of smart initiatives under the umbrella of the DMCA also includes the Dubai Maritime Club Portal, which was launched in collaboration with the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre. The initiative is aimed towards sponsoring highly skilled and talented human resources involved in maritime affairs and hold regular meetings to enrich knowledge and share experiences, provide an integrated platform for fruitful dialogue to improve the maritime industry, based on the core values of innovation, communication and collaboration.