SAUD ABU AL-SHAWAREB

Dubai 2020 | INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

DI focuses on elevating Dubai into a global platform for knowledge-based, innovation-focused businesses for a more sustainable future.

Saud Abu Al-Shawareb
BIOGRAPHY

Saud Abu Al-Shawareb is Managing Director of DI, the region's leading industrial and logistics hub and member of TECOM Group. During his long-standing tenure at the region's leading industrial hub, Al-Shawareb has held various executive positions, notably serving as executive director of partner relations, head of the operations department, and chief operating officer. He has a master's degree in engineering management from the University of Wollongong in Dubai and a BSc in civil engineering from the University of Sharjah.

What is the evolution of DI, and how are you aligning with the broader visions of the Emirate?
DI was established in 2004 to accelerate growth in manufacturing and logistics and unlock new opportunities in the Emirate's economy. Our strategic location plays a vital role in developing the industrial area outside of the city. We contribute to Dubai's industrial growth by providing a cost-effective business ecosystem with industrial land, warehousing facilities, and well-equipped worker accommodation with supermarkets, healthcare centers, mosques, and sports facilities. The infrastructure creates a community and commercial hub for international and local manufacturers and traders to establish their business and support goals underpinned by the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030. This includes a sharper focus on the industrial light manufacturing industry to help the Emirate increase exports, reduce imports, and build a sustainable, diversified economy.

Which subsectors in industrial light manufacturing are you emphasizing?
We have an excellent urban design in DI that focuses on six zones: food and beverage; chemicals; base metals; minerals; machinery equipment; and transport. We also have supporting zones for logistics and light manufacturing. This attractive masterplan assures companies that their operations will not be interrupted, while our diverse mix of business partners helps manufacturers find suppliers in one of our six zones to build an integrated, localized supply chain.

How do you ensure you can sustainably cater to the CAPEX demands across all these zones?
This was a consideration when we developed the masterplan and we have established certain power limits for our zones. Based on the masterplan, we have allocated different needs for transport, water, and energy. We also control demand for additional power through an application and evaluation process. In 2018, we invested in covering new zones and new infrastructure requirements. We have the flexibility investors need to customize their infrastructure. With some of our partners, we know what they want from the start and work hard to support them early on and in challenging times to ensure
we thrive together.

What is your philosophy around financial sustainability for the industrial zone?
We are proud of our business ecosystem and continue it build with focus and efficiency. We are developing 550 million sqft of land step-by-step to be sustainable. We maintain strong relationships with the more than 730 business partners at DI, who are our ambassadors in the market. We also have a comprehensive expenditure plan and invested in four substations for total of 800MW capacity. We also continually monitor our power capacity to ensure we can meet our business partners' energy demands now and in the future. We also invest in digital transformation, automation, and renewable energy to reduce operational costs for our partners and create an environment that supports organic growth.

How are you building your strategy around automation processes?
We have 140 operational factories in DI, and automation is an increasingly important part of the mix; however, factories still need workers and the rise of automation presents an opportunity for employers to retrain staff and help them develop new skills as businesses expand their use of machine learning and robotics.

What is your vision for your industrial hub for the coming decade?
We are the main stakeholder in the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030 and work closely with Dubai Exports, the co-lead of the strategy, to help our business partners drive manufacturing and logistics innovation. By developing world-class infrastructure and providing partners with end-to-end solutions to enhance ease of doing business with online access to government and visa services, we create an ecosystem for players in the light and medium manufacturing sectors to thrive. DI contributes to Dubai's status as a sustainable, technologically advanced manufacturing hub that helps multinational corporations and local entrepreneurs across food and beverage, base metals, transport equipment, machinery, logistics, chemicals, and minerals contribute to the Emirate's economic success story.