Evènements Transport - Logistique

[Replay] France and UAE 2 key logistic hubs with a strong collaboration


  • Esra Bora, VP Global Sales and Customer Experience - CMA CGM
  • Haleema Al Hosani - Senior Manager Global Accounts and Loyalty, Commercial Division Etihad Cargo
  • Olivier Schwartz, Chief Legal Officer & General Counsel , DP World
  • Moderated by: Olivier Brusle, partner at KPMG

View the video

Key Takeaways

In what way exactly is the UAE acting as logistics hub / how does it relate to the European Union and to France / are there any partnership with French companies?

  • Concrete examples of this relationship between the UAE and France;
  •  The UAE has impressively transformed itself from really being a logistic hub into supply chain nerve center in recent years and this transformation came as a result of the successful economic diversification efforts, the effective implementation of national logistic plans as well as key to that was the digital transformation initiatives; trade facilitation reforms, fast custom clearance reforms and the strategic location being in the center of east and west a trade route;
  • That has encouraged the UAE to emerge not as a logistic hub as I mentioned but as a center for supply chain;
  • The relationship between the UAE and France goes back to more than four decades and involve key sectors of bilateral cooperation, for instance air transport cargo and logistics developments in particular the first evidence of this cooperation was marked by um bilateral air transport agreement signs between the two countries that allowed particularly for cargo the carriers of both sides to operate unrestricted or cargo flights to the main airports between the two countries;
  • At Etihad Cargo, Paris is one of the first destinations, operated to back in 2004 and later with another development commercial development through the co-share agreement that has been finalized with Air France, the national carrier of France; Etihad Rail is currently working closely with key global freight forwarders of which major ones are actually French-based (Bollore and Geodis, one of the two key freight forwarders companies) providing connectivity from the UAE to the globe;
  • Concept of a supply chain center it's broadening the logistics into the wider scope;
  • UAE has a unique central position right between Europe and Asia and that itself is an extremely critical and creates sort of a natural hub for European and the French companies;
  • CMA CGM: UAE is our head office for the area, for the region looking after east Africa and India as well; it extends even beyond the borders and that has a very critical role in the overall region due to really the excellent infrastructure;
  • A lot of potential in UAE in terms of supply chain optimization, in terms of price agility and flexibility; CMA CGM has close to 17 main liners calling UAE ports it represents close to 13% of overall UAE market;
  • UAE is supporting the promotion of the foreign investments in the country so this will continue as a global hub and thanks to its proximity and the location between Europe and Asia;
  • DP WORLD: 2 main factors: the UAE is provides a hub between the east and the west (likewise we all know the success of emirates airlines) and DP WORLD operates one of the third largest container terminal and port around the world which is called Jebel Ali that attracts about 15 million containers every year, some of them of course are for the local market but most of them have been transshipped to other places due to the position of the UAE in the world;
  • The UAE has also invested largely in developing state-of-the-art infrastructures, efficiency and smart trade and e-solutionsto attract investors and to offer both a an efficient forum to develop their businesses and a perfect logistic gate;
  • Jebel Ali port, connected to one of the largest logistic and free zone in the world called JAFZA and which is a five minutes now from the Dubai new airport so we connect quickly all mode of models of transports and we think we provide an efficient logistic zone for investors who can set up in Dubai in a friendly environment and then trade in the east and trade in the west;
  • A second aspect to logistics: how can those logistics infrastructure, supply chain extended infrastructure not only act as an international hub globally but also for the region (the region is the GCC, the middle east, Africa) and specifically for those countries, how is the UAE acting as a regional hub and how would that be of value to French exporters?
  • ETIHAD CARGO: the reforms that the UAE government have taken into consideration and seriously helped the logistic industry to improve in three indices domestic regional opportunities, the international opportunities, the business fundamentals providing the great opportunities for logistic companies to play a regional role using the UAE as a base;
  • The UAE was the largest single destination accounting for 35% of air cargo volume out of France to the GCC in Middle East and Africa (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, South Africa, Kuwait, Morocco, Kenya and Bahrain);
  • Our strategy reflects that importance: we currently have around 60 passenger aircrafts available for cargo (especially now and during Covid-19) + the freighter fleet that we have deployed in the network where we translate that to more than 40 destinations of freighters passenger aircrafts used for cargo purely charter flights and we also added additional freighter fleets turned to cater for cargo with seats removed;
  • We connect more than 50 destinations into six continents so specifically for the GCC MENA region;
  • The opening of free zones around airports and ports: the contribution of non-oil exports expanded increasing the contribution from free zones, port infrastructure development projects are to improve this connectivity;  
  • The UAE strategic direction to be the global logistics hub to facilitate the covid19 vaccine distribution - to position itself as a global center for distribution of pharmaceuticals and life science;
  • Rapid expansion in the regional e-commerce and the government have given a high priority to support that development of e-commerce hubs around the main sea and airports;
  • The UAE has been really playing an important role as a regional hub and the whole reforms helped it to position itself as a regional hub within the GCC, Middle East and North Africa, in Africa in general;
  • CMA CGM: the UAE is our regional head for the region for India, east Africa and gulf region so itself is telling the story; we have 17 mainliners and they are all connected with feeders to the upper gulf and to the rest of the country so we really see that the strengthening role of UAE as a regional hub; we start to see an increase in the regionalization trend globally: 25% of our business is actually within this intra-regional area moving out of UAE and coming into the free zones in Dubai and Abu Dhabi; enhancing and promoting the inter-regional trade so UAE plays a critical role as the hub also in the region; but also on the regional level we see the increasing role of UAE;
  • DP WORLD: the infrastructure and the friendly environment to operate a business here and Dubai as a port and an airport and the UAE generally: proximity to Africa; what we see more and more is cargo moving to Dubai and then moving to Africa, rather than trades going directly to Africa so Dubai as a port is definitely a hub for business going to Africa; DP WORLD is developing new terminals in Africa, very active business development in Africa and in India, through the acquisition of ports to develop a better network of ports that enables some of our customers to benefit from that network; we see more and more European including French companies setting up their Middle East and Africa head offices in Dubai because Dubai seems to be closer to Africa than many other places; we provide a friendly environment, legal certainty, proximity to Africa;
  • In terms of legal certainty, the UAE is very active to promote trade via providing foreign investors with legal tools that protects their investments: double taxation treaties and bilateral investment treaties;

Views on the digital innovations in logistics:

  • ETIHAD CARGO: the UAE have been strengthening its logistic ecosystem by increasing investments in the development of logistic infrastructure, improving the global connectivity through multi-modal logistics facilities, logistic process digitalization, warehouse automations,
  • digitalization was an important element to the success of that program where we partnered with Mukhtar gateway that served as a key enabler to timely manage and track all Covid-19 vaccine supplies,
  • we celebrated the first year of digitalization in 2018 only with the launch of a range of new projects: our booking processes, our cargo control center which is a 24/7 monitoring center of all the shipments across the network, a mobile app for tracking shipments as well as for making booking the dynamic pricing approach and investing in technologies; there are so many projects in the pipeline,
  • there are no boundaries with technology and digitalization; to create a perfect platform for further opportunities in cooperation with tech companies in the industry,
  • CMA CGM: is an innovative company, which embraced digital quite early; one of our main strategic pillars are digitalization and innovation; we have a startup incubator in Marseille;
  • today on the innovation and on technology side, the critical part is to find the right talent;
  • On the innovation we both have the hardware and the software side: the importance of reefer units in the UAE market (we are using Emerson technology for super freezers and for high value pharma for coal treatment), on the dry cargo, we are using track sense technology in the box with GPS location and with a lot of sensors; so it's actually the technology to follow and the monitor the container itself is really progressing well on the digital angle, and focus on the paperless bill of lading, paperless delivery orders;
  • DP WORLD: various initiatives to facilitate trade paperless trade; we are on a paperless environment for all ports, port operations and trading operations and payments within ports; together with the customs because the countries customs play a big role in clearing your cargo and your container from the ship to your home;
  • we also developing a better technology in terms of terminal operating systems to improve efficiency and time; we're implementing our solutions in our terminals worldwide, developing online platforms for freight forwarders and cargo owners and customers to provide them with best rates, best service services and best routes for their containers;
  • we're trying to develop new technology to improve a life cycle of a container between a ship a vessel and a port and the cargo owner; and it's about storage: for Expo 2020, we will show one initiative called Box Bay, to load containers in a completely new way;
  • we're trying to embrace digitalization and innovation as much as we can in an industry which is not the most the most innovative industry in the world;

Using blockchain technology:

  • DP WORLD: has a team working on block chain global chain initiatives adapted to the port industry;
  • ETIHAD RAIL: a lot of announcements and developments around that as a concept: nothing really concrete;  

Can French companies reinforce the partnership with the UAE based on technology expertise or skills transfer?

  • ETIHAD CARGO: there's a lot of fields where the partnership between UAE and France touched based, not only cargo logistics but in culture, in education and knowledge of transfer.
  • CMA CGM: one of two possibilities in the future is to basically extend our incubator startup incubator into UAE;
  • DP WORLD:  we have an agreement with various universities in the US including MIT where we send young UAE talented students to learn more and develop you know innovative skills and imagination; we've invested a few years ago in Hyperloop which is a super-fast train, developed in the US, but together with French rail company SNCF and other companies such as VIRGIN from England and we are now developing our own Hyperloop train called the DP World Cargo Speed, it's all about speed and efficiency so the idea would be to move your cargo from the port of arrival to its final destination as fast as possible;

How is artificial intelligence used or implemented in logistics and in particular in this region:

  • CMA CGM: a lot of manual interaction so if we can move to AI, it’d give huge efficiency and increase the customer experience; we also have the innovation on the ship and on the equipment and there is definitely AI playing a critical role; Zbox is working with startups to look into overall end-to-end customer experience; today we still have a lot of tasks manual, we still have things to crack like instant booking confirmation, like dynamic pricing, seamless documentation and paperless documentation: to streamline our main processes and digitalize it and use startups and their recommendation to improve the current customer experience;
  • DP WORLD: there are two projects: the Hyperloop which is the fast passenger train and then we are developing the DP World cargo speed which is the same concept but for cargo/containers: still in the research and feasibility; have to negotiate with governments and obtain rights concession and agree on where would the transport would take place;

What about drones?

  • DP WORLD: we do not have um any projects which are including drone phones for the time being; but some of our customers are looking at using drones to improve the logistics;
  • CMA CGM: not for the containers but in the logistics industry we can use drones actually in the warehouses;
  • ETIHAD CARGO: not yet because as an airline our main key role is airport to airport, we have the plane to fly the cargo

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