What are your thoughts on the Global Business Forum Latin America – Panama 2019 and the role of this forum in connecting Dubai with Panama and the Latin America region?
We are very pleased to be here, and we were honored to be received by the President of Panama. He has personally attended and actively participated in the event. During his visit to the Global Business Forum (GBF) on Latin America in Dubai last year, he expressed his desire to hold the next one in Panama, and here we are achieving his dream. It [GBF Latin America] has played a big role in increasing awareness and connecting our people together, creating a platform for companies to grow and do business with each other. The two cities, Panama City and Dubai, we share one common thing: we are trading hubs in our respective regions. These two key trading hubs must talk to each other. Dubai connects the Middle East with Africa, Southeast Asia, Europe and China. Panama, through the Panama Canal and Panama City, connects North and South America, including Latin America and the Caribbean, with each other and with the rest of the world. With its infrastructure and logistics, they play a similar role as Dubai. Now, the two must talk to each other to leverage our strengths and reap a greater benefit.
Dubai and Panama City are established hubs for their respective regions. How and where can the two cities strengthen their collaboration?
The trade between Dubai and Panama has been less than its potential. In general, Latin American countries have not been in our top 30 or 40 trade partners. How can we improve our trade with the region? Latin America has so much to give the world, but so far much of it remains untapped by Dubai. And by this I do not mean just for the Dubai market, but also in terms of connectivity through Dubai to the rest of the world, to markets in Africa, Asia, etc. We can leverage our strengths and help our respective companies to talk with each other. Dubai has excelled in the service industry. Take DP World for example. Now DP World is in Peru, Brazil, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, soon in Chile and hopefully in Panama and other Latin American countries. As a port operator, it is a region of huge untapped markets. We can do more business together.
What role do you see technology playing in increasing trade with Latin America? How would you assess the current level of digital transformation in the logistics sector?
Now we are in the era of technology and digital transformation. Imagine if a simple export transaction in Panama can be regarded as an import transaction in Dubai. Imagine if between the exporter in Panama and the importer in Dubai, they have access to the real time operations, what documents are flowing and at what time, etc. It's possible with technologies like block chain and artificial intelligence. On the ground, with robotics and AI and all of the benefits that technology can bring, we can create more visibility and responsiveness in our transactions. These technologies are already being adopted, but of course there is still much more room. The millennial generation will dictate the adoption of this technology. They don't want to wait and will expect instant transactions.
What are DP World's goals or objectives in Latin America?
We at DP World have designed a systems integration product for the port or logistics community. It is a digital platform for the stakeholders involved in the movement of cargo. All of the steps of the process, including document submission, registration, inspection, payment, and reporting, can be done digitally and via mobile devices. That is the solution that we are currently implementing in the Dominican Republic and we want to implement it in other Latin American countries, whether in Spanish or Portuguese or any language they prefer. As the growth opportunities here are huge, this region is one of our strategic priorities.