(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Middle East container industry growth and opportunities for further business development in the supply chain sector was highlighted by industry specialists at a conference in Dubai on Tuesday.
The region is leading expansion in global container shipping and it's downstream sector is driving much of that growth, they said at the Fourth Gulf Petrochemical and Chemical Association (GPCA) Supply Chain Conference.
"DP World's experience with Jebel Ali Port shows that investing in handling capacity in line with market demands has consistently strengthened efficiencies across the supply chain and also helped in transforming our flagship port into one of the world's largest hubs that connects the region to the vital East-West trade route," DP World senior vice-president and managing director for the UAE Mohammed Al Muallem said in his key note address on the first day of the conference.
Talking about connectivity of Jebel Ali Port, Al Muallem mentioned that the port has 24 weekly connections to the Far East, 22 weekly connections to South East Asia, 10 weekly connections to the Mediterranean, six weekly connections to North Europe, and 38 weekly connections to Gulf feeders.
Organisers said around 300 senior industry representatives attended the first full day of the conference, which is examining opportunities for further business development in the supply chain sector and the need for best practice. Opening the conference was Hamad Al Terkait, former vice chairman, GPCA and ex-president and chief executive officer, Equate Petrochemical, who said: "The supply chain should be looked at as more of an investment opportunity and not just a service, especially when we look at the volume to be exported from the region which is around 120 million tonnes this year " transportation is crucial."
"We look at the experts at the Fourth GPCA Supply Chain Conference and see those who can make the supply chain the most efficient it can be," Al Terkait said.
The Fourth GPCA Supply Chain Conference is also taking an in-depth look at the role of smart supply chain management in the sustained growth of the Middle East's chemical and petrochemical industry.
"Those areas that have a crucial bearing on our industry's supply chain efficiency, such as ports and customs, are a major focus for discussion this year," said Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, secretary-general of the GPCA. "Achieving supply chain best practice will enhance our performance as an industry " and, once again, we are grateful to have the insights and experience of the industry's leading authorities at our Supply Chain Conference."
After the day's presentations, delegates toured the new container terminal at Jebel Port, Terminal 2, which is equipped to handle the latest generation of super-sized container vessels.
Delegates, visiting Jebel Ali, were introduced to the state-of-the-art technology and systems that have led to the port earning a five-star rating from the European Foundation for Quality Management, the first port in the world to receive the prestigious award.