- Jonathan Josephs
- Business and Commerce correspondent-BBC News
4 hours ago
One prominent businessman in the Middle East told the BBC that “Israeli peace agreements with the UAE and Bahrain will have a major impact” on business and trade in the region.
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman and CEO of Dubai-based DP World, said they would remove barriers to business ties that were previously “impermissible” by shortening trade routes and making it easier to deal with Europe.
Israeli estimates indicate that trade with the UAE could eventually reach $ 4 billion a year, creating 15,000 jobs.
Bin Sulayem agrees that it will be beneficial to both sides: “We need something from Israel, they need something from us.”
Many exports are likely to be dependent on technology, including cybersecurity, in addition to the latest innovations in medicine and agriculture.
Trade is also likely to grow to include more goods as many Asian exports flow through Dubai.
MSC Paris this week became one of the first cargo ships to make the voyage between the two countries, and the Israeli parliament formally approved the treaty with the United Arab Emirates.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the shipment of electronics, cleaning materials, iron and firefighting equipment as “the beginning of something huge.”
DP World is the largest port operator in the world and is working with Israeli “DoverTower” to expand its presence in the country. Israel is looking to modernize port facilities in Ashdod and Haifa, which are vital to its economy.
It is the ambition to expand the company’s presence that helped it outperform other companies operating in the shipping sector during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Bin Sulayem.
Before the pandemic, DP World was handling 10% of all shipping containers that are used to move everything from electronics to clothing and auto parts around the world.
The number of these containers is set to decrease this year as the International Monetary Fund predicts that the global economy will contract by 4.4%.
“It was very difficult for everyone,” says Bin Sulayem.
He added, “All shipping companies, port operators and logistics services have been shocked by the lockdown and the many measures they have to take.” [الآن] Carry it out. “
In the first six months of 2020, DP World handled 33.9 million containers, a decrease of 3.9% in the number of shipping containers compared to the same time in 2019, with the largest drops in the Americas and Australia.
But that’s better than the 5.6% global decline estimated by marine research firm Drewry.
“Trade has been very flexible,” says the company’s container research expert, Simon Heaney. He says the lifting of restrictions means global trade is likely to decline by only 3.3% for the full year, with the United States and Europe emerging to the fore.
Bin Sulayem says that his company’s relatively strong performance was due to “the presence of company sites all over the world, so we are not affected in one place.”
“Not only are we affected by one part of the world, but we are in fact almost evenly spread around the world from the Far East and Europe to Latin America, Australia and Africa. We believe that by the end of the year the company will be affected by less than 6%,” he explains.
The epidemic has accelerated the spread of new technology throughout the company that has led to “better productivity”.
According to Bin Sulayem, another big task for the port giant was to try to stop the spread of Covid-19 in its operations around the world. As the outbreak of the epidemic occurred on a number of cargo ships, it represented a real challenge to the industry.
Most countries have imposed strict restrictions on crew changes, making it difficult for those working on cargo ships to come ashore and interact with port personnel.
Physical distancing and a strict cleaning regime were at the heart of DP World’s operations, says Bin Sulayem: “We basically separate people. We are not allowed to mix and clean and sterilize anything we touch.”
He says that DP World is keen to “really abide” by the rules in every country in which it operates and that the priority is to protect its more than 56,000 workers.
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