STRATEGIC ASSET

Abu Dhabi 2019 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports, on what makes Abu Dhabi the best destination for FDI, being one of the first ports to work on blockchain solutions, and major expansion plans.

Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi
BIOGRAPHY
Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi has more than 19 years of experience in the maritime industry. He joined Abu Dhabi Ports in 2008 and prior to becoming CEO, he held key leadership positions including Executive Vice President of the company’s Ports Unit. He was recently appointed as a board member of Abu Dhabi Marine Operations & Services Company, Etihad Rail DB, and the Federal Transport Authority. He is currently Chairman of KIZAD Board of Directors and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Cruise Development Committee. He holds an MBA and Graduate Certificate of Management from the University of Tasmania, Australia and was awarded the Australian Maritime College’s Peter Morris Prize for his significant contributions to the maritime industry.

What was the driver behind the MoU signed with Emirates Global Aluminum (EGA), and how can this set an example for other companies?

As a fully integrated solution provider, Abu Dhabi Ports takes a holistic approach with regards to its industrial zone. The agreement with EGA, one of the world's biggest producers of aluminium, fits into our dedicated strategy that goes beyond the port gates, both at home and abroad. This strategy is reflected both in our support in the development of EGA's state-of-the-art facility in Taweelah for a bauxite refinery and in the management of its terminal in Conakry, Guinea, which will be integrated next year. Thus, it is clear our support toward EGA is not just geared locally, but wherever EGA exists, whether that implies taking care of the logistics around its business or handling its raw materials and finished products at all levels. We also signed a strategic deal with COSCO, giving them a home port to handle their cargo, and another one with MSC, handling their cargo and transshipment to Abu Dhabi Terminals. Of course, these announcements imply major infrastructure expansion on our side, which will contribute even further to putting Abu Dhabi on the map for commercially oriented clients.
What does 2018 mean for the group's strategy, and how do you expect your TEU to evolve over the next five years?
2018 is the start of the huge and major expansion of our facilities, such as the Khalifa Port, Fujairah Terminal, and in Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), with many developments coming along that will be announced to keep the trade world aware of our progress and expansion. Khalifa Port's overall capacity will jump from 2.5 to 8.5 million TEUs, requiring a huge amount of investment and infrastructure. The numbers highlight the dramatic expansion: for 48 years, Abu Dhabi handled 1.5 million TEUs; however, after signing the agreement with MSC, it will handle more than 2.5 million TEUs in 2019. Indeed, over the next five years, we aim to add more than 6 million TEUs. As such, we will be expanding ADT's footprint in order to handle and increase the capacity from 2.5 million to 5.5 million TEUs.

What are the next steps to ensure the whole process is digitalized and efficient for both port operators and clients?

Without an automated system, we would not be able handle 8.5 million TEUs within five years or switch billion-dirham assets. Because of our forward-looking mindset, we built a system that speaks both the local and the international language. In addition, Maqta Gateway, an Abu Dhabi Ports subsidiary, is developing digital solutions that ensure smooth transport and logistics operations. It operates the single window for Abu Dhabi, allowing parties to submit information and documents with a single-entry point to fulfill all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements. We are the only port linked to ports in China and Europe, and we are one of the first ports to work on blockchain to meet the needs of our clients and community. These efforts reflect our positioning as an international company that seeks to meet the growing interest of international clients, an interest reflected in multiple investments into KIZAD from Brazil, Europe, and the Far East. Abu Dhabi's positioning at the heart of the Silk Road and the prominence of our clients such as COSCO and MSC is a testament to our competitive advantage, and technology gives an added value to compete on a global scale.

What impact will the relationship with China have on Abu Dhabi's industrial sector?

The strategy lies in attracting Chinese investments, in the form of factories, to the industrial zone. We are encouraging FDI because we cover all requirements needed to set-up a business here, which solidifies our position as the best destination for FDI.