THE PLACE TO BE

Dubai 2016 | MARITIME | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Amer Ali, Executive Director of the Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), on staying competitive in the industry, global recognition, and smart applications.

Amer Ali
BIOGRAPHY
Amer Ali oversees and supervises all management and implementation aspects of the Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), the government entity in charge of regulating and safeguarding the maritime sector in Dubai. Ali began his career as the Manager of Promotions and Exhibitions at Dubai Ports Authority in 1999. He has since held senior positions in other Dubai World companies, like Jebel Ali Real Estate and Dubai Ports World. He has a degree in communications management and a diploma in mass communication from the Business Administration School in London. He also has a degree in the Senior Executive Program from Harvard Business School and the Marketing and Business Program from Seattle University.

In what ways does the authority promote the local maritime sector's competitiveness globally?

The DMCA works in close collaboration with various organizations from both the public and private sectors to further strengthen Dubai's position at the regional and international levels as one of the world's leading maritime hubs. We maintain close ties with our partners to develop and deploy regulations and initiatives to boost the local maritime sector's competitiveness. The Dubai Maritime Sector Strategy (DMSS), a first-of-its-kind initiative established to regulate, develop, and promote the maritime industry, has helped drive the Emirate's sustainable and vibrant maritime industry toward excellence, creativity, and innovation. We continue to participate in local and international maritime trade fairs and conferences to highlight Dubai's maritime strength, growth and development strategies, and lucrative opportunities in the local sector along with its world-class infrastructure, favorable environment for business, and investment-friendly regulations.

What are the DMCA initiatives that contribute to Dubai's competitiveness across the international maritime industry?

In 2015, the DMCA successfully represented the UAE across prominent international forums, showcasing Dubai's leading experience as a major player on the global maritime map. Through our proactive initiatives, the DMCA has contributed significantly toward the fulfillment of the prediction of the international report issued by Menon Business Economics Group in Norway that Dubai will rank among the world's top seven leading maritime centers by 2020. The Dubai Maritime Sector Strategy has helped raise the level of confidence of regional and international investors and promoted the competitive advantages to be gained from the local maritime sector. The strategy is helping develop legislative infrastructure and maritime services and building a business- and investment-friendly environment as well. Dubai is among the world's top 10 players in terms of the competitiveness and attractiveness of its maritime cluster components.

The DMCA launched the Dubai Maritime Agenda 2015 for the first time in the Middle East. What were the major conclusions drawn from this event?

Attended by pioneers of the maritime sector, decision makers, senior government figures, and regional and international experts, the Dubai Maritime Agenda 2015 was a tremendous success. It emerged as a platform for high-level strategic discussions that assessed the growing role of Dubai in supporting global maritime sector growth through an ambitious policy that adopts the latest creative and innovative solutions to build a secure, renewable, and sustainable maritime sector. The Dubai Maritime Agenda manifests Dubai's emerging leadership as an international hub of maritime excellence and innovation. The Dubai Maritime Agenda 2015 achieved its core objective of promoting communication channels to industry professionals to develop a clear vision on present and future challenges and potential opportunities, particularly with regards to technological innovation, legislative excellence, and training and human investment. It also reviewed the DMCA's prominent maritime achievements and the latest initiatives to make Dubai one of the world's best international maritime capitals in the next five years, including the Maritime Sector Strategy, the Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre, and the Dubai Maritime Training Centre.

How can smart applications help in Dubai's maritime growth?

The DMCA is expected to launch more apps as part of its comprehensive portfolio of smart applications, which are aimed toward showcasing more interaction within the maritime segment. In fact, the authority's recently launched Smart DMCA app has already garnered an overwhelming response from the maritime community. The integrated app provides key information about the DMCA's operations, along with many interactive features. Other applications include Smart Marine Traffic, which helps track the movement of marine transport in Dubai, and Smart Customer, which provides clients with a smart platform for maritime services. Smart Exam is a quantum leap in terms of evaluating the competency of clients who wish to apply for a marine craft driving license without having to visit DMCA headquarters. Also launched were Smart Inspector, a smart channel to complete inspections, update data, and issue maritime exam results directly and electronically, while Smart Employee provides DMCA's staff immediate and direct access to all internal systems and services using smart devices anytime, anywhere.