The move aims to promote the UAE’s maritime sector globally. It also supports the Ministry’s role in building alternative economic components to the oil sector, supporting its strategy to be a key contributor to the ‘Projects of the 50’ initiatives. The cluster brings together organisations and individuals in the UAE maritime sector and unites their capabilities to build a unified force that enhances the UAE’s position globally, as one of the top five global maritime hubs.
To launch the Cluster, the Ministry will build a communication network consisting of the various entities in the maritime sector. This will act as a platform for launching various activities and events that the UAE Maritime Cluster will implement. It will also be a knowledge hub for external maritime authorities around the world to learn about the opportunities available in the maritime industry and invest in the UAE’s blue economy.
On this occasion, Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said, “The UAE is a unique success story in government excellence. Building on the model of the UAE Union, we will unify the UAE maritime sector by launching the UAE Maritime Cluster, which will be a platform that integrates the capabilities of the various entities and organisations, whether federal, local or from the private sector. The Cluster will enhance their performance by bringing together the competencies and experiences of professionals and experts working in the UAE’s maritime sector, many of whom are world-class experts. This will build a giant think tank and a portfolio for the national maritime capabilities, to create new opportunities for the development of the maritime sector. This is similar to the Union among the Emirates that created new opportunities for the people of the UAE to achieve growth and prosperity.”
“This cluster is one of our key initiatives that will contribute to our preparations for the next 50 years, ensuring the growth of the maritime sector that significantly contributes to the UAE’s GDP. Currently, the sector is estimated at around AED91 billion annually. We look forward to doubling this figure within a few years by building bridges to integrate the various organisations and stakeholders involved,” the minister said.
Al Mazrouei added that announcing the first set of ‘Projects of the 50’ gives the maritime sector a great boost, as it opens up many opportunities for it to expand, grow and attract more investments. The maritime industry plays a key role in developing and increasing the UAE’s exports. It also empowers and supports the industrial sector and the UAE’s role in international trade through several major investment arms. These include developing ports and operating terminals in more than 70 countries around the world as well as managing ships and maritime fleets. The UAE’s fleet ranks 21st globally in terms of tonnage capacity.
From his part, Hassan Mohammed Juma Al Mansouri, Undersecretary for Infrastructure and Transport Affairs at the MoEI, said, “The time has never been better to launch this mega project, especially after the restructure in government organisations and ministries by the wise leadership to increase efficiency, and unify capabilities based on their specialisations and strategic objectives. One of the noteworthy examples of this was the merger of the maritime and land transport sector with the infrastructure sector, as they strengthen and complement each other. Launching the UAE Maritime Cluster was a direct result of unifying the UAE’s strategic sectors. This supports the maritime sector and ensures that it will benefit from the comprehensive government system, thus achieving unprecedented growth rates.”
From her side, Hessa Al Malek, Advisor to the Minister for Maritime Transport Affairs at MoEI, said, “Launching the UAE Maritime Cluster is an indispensable step as we prepare the UAE’s candidacy for its Category-B membership at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for the third time. The UAE is home to the regional headquarters of many international maritime companies and organisations. These are influential bodies and their voices are heard across the sector. It would be very useful to have an overall comprehensive national platform that brings together all the influential players in the maritime sector. It will also enhance our maritime capabilities and influence in developing the industry globally, which will greatly support our candidacy.”
The UAE Maritime Cluster will feature a portal with a centralised database of entities within the maritime sector as well as a network of maritime organisations and professionals in the UAE. It will also organise events, conferences and panel discussions to bring together the government and private sectors to discuss ideas, advance the maritime sector and help formulate the maritime strategy for the next 50 years.
A central think tank will be launched to explore investment opportunities and innovative maritime projects as a result of unifying the efforts and ideas of maritime organisations in the UAE. Cooperation will also be strengthened between students from maritime academies, facilitating connect with experts and professionals in the UAE. This will contribute to the Emiratisation of leadership positions in the maritime sector, leading to the creation of a new generation of maritime professionals for the next 50 years, in line with principles of the ‘Projects of the 50’. The UAE Maritime Cluster will also include a business incubator to support young entrepreneurs and a platform for Research and Development (R&D) that brings together the academic and scientific competencies of the academic sector in the UAE and the Arab region. Several accelerators will also stimulate the generation of innovative ideas and turn them into strategic maritime projects.